56 posts tagged "Nicola Formichetti"
“I own everything, baby!” sang the oft foul-mouthed stripper-turned-rapper Brooke Candy before wrapping up a phone interview last week. She wasn’t referencing any kind of newfound wealth—after signing with RCA Records in February, the formerly homeless L.A.-based artist is just finding her footing in the pop music biz. Rather, her proclamation was a line from her new song and music video, “Opulence,” which dropped at a Diesel-sponsored party in New York last night.
The flick is lensed by Steven Klein and styled by Nicola Formichetti, who, after discovering Candy online in Grimes’ “Genesis” video, has taken the starlet under his wing. In October, he cast her as the face of his Diesel accessories campaign and flew her to Tokyo, where, flanked by gyrating exotic dancers, she performed at a bondage-themed sex party to fete the collection. “I wasn’t really looking for anybody. I wanted to just focus on Diesel,” admitted Formichetti, Diesel’s artistic director and former stylist to Lady Gaga. “But when I saw her, I couldn’t resist.”
Before teaming with Formichetti, Candy, 25, already had a sufficiently severe look, one that involved braids down to her calves, velvet bikinis, platform sneakers, and more bare skin than Miley—a deliberate and independent choice, according to Candy, that she believes expresses feminist power. “I have an agenda, and I’m not selling anything,” she said of her penchant for nudity and raunchy dance moves, adding that not all pop stars fall into the same category. “I don’t want to say any names, but there’s a difference between being knowledgeable about what you’re doing, and doing it because someone is behind you, telling you to do it. You don’t have to be the most genius fucking person in the world to tell when a woman taking her clothes off is authentic, and when it’s sad.”
“I see her as a blank canvas, and I just want to elevate her,” said Formichetti. “I love who she is. She’s very involved, and I don’t want her to suddenly become a new person.” Indeed, Candy has maintained her raw, sometimes shocking appearance. But these days, the braids have been traded for finger waves, the teeny bikinis for custom Olima Atelier bustiers.
“She’s queen of the freaks!” laughed Formichetti, when asked about the video wardrobe, which includes upwards of twenty-five ensembles, among them a Gareth Pugh trenchcoat, bespoke Alexis Bittar jeweled masks, and leather Diesel duds covered in plastic gems that the stylist found in Chinatown.
The “freak” element, as well as the overall concept of the film—which traces Candy’s evolution from a skinhead exacting revenge on a man who’s just robbed her, to a glammed-out queen of the night who becomes a gluttonous, glitter-covered monster—both stem from Candy’s primary inspiration, Paris Is Burning, the cult documentary about gay voguers in the 1980s. “That movie changed my perspective on everything,” raved Candy. “And I really related to this one moment when they’re describing opulence. Basically, the idea is that you show off so much confidence and poise that you create the impression that you’re the wealthiest, most intelligent, powerful person on the planet, and you own everything. And when those people were performing at the balls in their costumes, they were safe,” said the singer, noting that she feels most at home in underground gay clubs. In fact, the video’s theme was conceived with Formichetti at a drag bar in Tokyo, and was shot in a Bushwick warehouse filled with Candy’s friends, namely a transgender woman, a gaggle of drag queens, and her loyal posse of gay men. “We’re all freaks and outcasts, and this was meant to empower them.”
Though she asserts she “can’t predict the future,” Candy doesn’t foresee herself turning into the materialistic creature depicted in the video—mainly, she says, because she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. “I literally lived on the street and was wearing outfits made of paper because that’s all I could afford,” said Candy. (Side note: She actually grew up in the L.A. suburbs but fell on hard times after her mother and father—the CEO of Hustler Casinos—didn’t quite understand her artistic pursuits.) With that in mind, she and Formichetti aimed to champion other outré up-and-coming talents, like Nasir Mazhar, Charlie Le Mindu, and Natasha Morgan, by incorporating their designs in the film.
Even so, Candy has undergone quite the transformation—aesthetic and otherwise—since she set out to become a star. Best known for songs like “I Wanna Fuck Right Now,” the artist has toned down her lyrics in “Opulence,” the first single she’s released under RCA. “I worked with Sia and she felt the vibration I was putting out, but she said to me, ‘You have two paths you can follow. You can keep doing what you’re doing, or you can tone it down and go that much further.’ I don’t really let anything cloud my head, but I thought, If that’s going to help me speak to a broader audience, that’s fine. I’ll just ramp up my imagery.” And ramp it up she did—in one scene, Candy rolls around on the screen covered in blood, touching herself, while wearing lingerie, three crowns, and a fur coat gifted to her by Formichetti.
So did she sell out? “No. The lyrics were my decision. It’s a smarter way to go. And it’s just a different vehicle.” It’s a vehicle that Formichetti supports. “I like that I can sing along with it now,” he said. “And we need more freaky people in the mainstream.” No doubt, Candy is pushing her way into pop culture—she has another Diesel campaign in the works, and she’ll be starting a small tour this May. Naturally, Formichetti will be making the costumes. But is pop culture ready for Candy? “I think so,” said Formichetti. “I hope so. She’s in between edgy and crazy and pop, and that is where the magic happens.”
Style.com learned today that Louis Vuitton will be holding its first-ever cruise destination show for the Resort 2015 season. The far-flung locale of choice? Good old glamorous Monaco. The move is indicative of Vuitton’s newfound dedication to ready-to-wear following its appointment of creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, who debuted his first collection for the house earlier this month during Paris fashion week. More generally, this is also proof of the expanding role of runway shows.
Chanel, who’s previously presented its cruise and Metiers d’Art ranges in Versailles, Monaco, Singapore, Dallas, Scotland, and beyond, is headed to Dubai come May; Nicola Formichetti is hosting his first show for Diesel in Venice next month; and Dior jetted guests to Monaco (seeing a trend here?) for its Resort 2014 outing. Moschino, too, jumped on the destination bandwagon and premiered its Resort 2014 collection in Shanghai.
What does all this mean? While it’s no doubt lovely to be an editor at one of these exotic events, houses’ choice to raise their shows’ profiles by holding them in exciting locations proves these runway spectacles are more about advertising, brand image, and engaging the international public than ever before. Not to mention, we’re sensing a little competition between fashion’s heavy hitters. What’s next—catwalking on the moon?
“Diesel is all about rebels,” insisted Nicola Formichetti, the brand’s artistic director and arguably one of the biggest rebels on the block. In fact, he may be second only to Renzo Rosso, Diesel’s founder, who gave Formichetti near-free reign of the house’s image when he hired the designer, stylist, and Internet whiz last year. If you think we’re exaggerating, just have a look at the Tokyo bondage party the pair threw to celebrate the label’s accessories collection last fall. Or consider the fact that Formichetti told us he’s holding his debut Diesel runway show on April 3 (that is, after fashion month) in Venice, just an hour east of the company’s Breganze, Italy, headquarters. “I wanted to do something away from fashion week, and to create our own rules,” Formichetti asserted. “It’s going to be an experience—way different from a fashion show. And it’s going to be really digital—but that’s no surprise.”
Never one for downtime, Formichetti is releasing a new leather-centric #Diesel Tribute capsule ahead of the Venice show. And the twenty-piece clothing and accessories range—a follow-up to November’s denim capsule of the same name—embodies the designer’s iconoclastic outlook. “We are elegant rebels, modern-day rebels, and I think leather sums that up,” said Formichetti of the collection. A nod to Diesel’s archive, the outing comprises a zip-front body-con leather dress; a stud-embellished vest; jeans; tees; and jersey denim bombers, pants, and intimates that ooze all the toughness of leather but offer a little more comfort. The centerpieces, however, are a hand-stitched patchwork leather bomber and matching pants. “I didn’t want to do something super-trendy, and we can’t make it very cheap,” said Formichetti of the collection, which is priced between $120 for a T-shirt and $3,800 for those patched-up pants. “You know, fast fashion is cool and inexpensive, but after a couple of months, it falls apart. I wanted to do something more timeless, something that will last and remain in your wardrobe.”
#Diesel Tribute Leather debuts exclusively here in a campaign by Nick Knight, which he shot entirely on his iPhone. “It was all about apps and doing everything instantly on set,” said Formichetti, who famously launched his reign at Diesel with a robust social media initiative. As for the cast, Formichetti tapped the same breed of staunch individual that he has featured in previous advertising efforts. (His first accessories campaign was fronted by stripper-turned-rapper Brooke Candy, and Diesel’s recent We Are Connected ads starred Jillian Mercado—a striking 26-year-old blogger with muscular dystrophy—and her wheelchair.) “They’re people we found on Tumblr—some friends, friends of friends, models, you know, a good mix,” said Formichetti when quizzed on his fresh faces. “Pulling these unsung heroes is [important], and I think it’s so cool that Diesel’s brave enough to support them because, you know, the fashion world is crazy.”
As for the forthcoming Fall ’14 collection, Formichetti hinted that it’s going to be a blend of the house’s signature denim and leather, but on steroids. “I’m doing an über version of my last two capsules for the show,” he said over the yelping of his two dogs, Tank and Bambi. The pups had just gotten back from a trip to L.A., where they were, as Formichetti put it, “retreating for the winter.” Once the barking stopped, he added, “Fall is all about going back to the basics—something that you would want to wear every day. But, of course, it’s me, so you’re going to get a bit of fantasy there, too.”
The #Diesel Tribute Leather Collection will be available at Diesel stores worldwide from February 1.