nicola formichetti is brilliant. he calls himself an art director. i call him a curator. he’s an outstanding translator of street style into compelling images.

nicola formichetti

he was born in japan to an italian pilot father and a japanese stewardess mother. brought up between rome and tokyo, he moved to london to study but soon gave that up for clubbing. his work at concept store pineal eye was remarked and katy england got him a junior fashion editor job at dazed & confused.

he juggled many jobs. among others, he used to be the fashion director for vogue hommes japan. that is before the magazine was discontinued. he has also been the fashion director of japanese apparel giant, uniqlo. and he has worked extensively as a stylist for numberless editorials for independent magazines.

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reading an interview in arena, i found out how he started working with lady gaga. he noticed her in her early days and decided to use her as a model. then, he slowly made her into a household product.

after spending 3 years bringing genius to the lady gaga character, he stepped down and allowed his former assistant to take charge. i believe her current outfits sorely lack nicola’s magic and the new album is, most probably consequently, a flop. in my opinion, this is proof of how much the packaging meant in the context of the gaga formula. 

here you have a few of my favourites of their costumes.

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he undertook different other jobs. he was the designer of the house of thierry mugler for a while, with rather remarkable results. the creative reins are in the hands of thierry mugler himself, once again.

he gave up his job at mugler in part because the prices were too high and the clothes were not affordable. as a reaction, he created nicopanda in 2011 with his brother andrea. based on a panda cartoon with nicola’s face, the brand had pop up stores all over the world. the products are affordable and they create a huge amount of buzz.

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i admire his method and his restless gemini curiosity. he’s always on the prowl for the next big thing. a few years ago, he paid thousands in unpaid fines to get a passport for rick genest. zombie boy needed to make it to paris to model in his first mugler show.


for his latest undertaking, being the artistic director for diesel, he’s featuring gender bending underground stars mykki blanco and boychild in the ad campaigns.



he’s using internet heavily and he’s fully aware of the power of social media. he re-galvanized the brand by casting unknown people but by employing stars behind the camera. 

the #diesel reboot campaign was photographed by super star couple inez and vindooh. instead of standard models, he’s using androgyny, tattoos and lots of non-orthodox street style.


click here to check out the alternative series of gifs.

the #diesel tribute campaign was shot by nick knight. the main campaign is shot with an iphone. and he shot different sets of pictures for each social media channel. how’s that for thorough? 

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watch brooke candy get rid of her dreads for the accessory campaign. she cleans up nicely, right?

i love the money under her tights! it’s another genius diy detail a la nicola! the former stripper provides the soundtrack, too. it’s her unreleased at the time track feel yourself (alcohol).

another of nicola’s proteges, azealia banks, provides the atm jam soundtrack to the jogg jeans (denim with jersey for increased comfort) campaign.

he is non judgemental and non elitist. he has recently worked with kim kardashian and would love to work with miley cyrus. that would be interesting!

he uses tumblr as a search engine and he selected 1,000 artists to exhibit their work as part of his diesel collaboration with the galleries lafayette, in paris. and he acted unlike any other single minded corporation representatives out there. they printed the artists’ social media accounts on the images so they can get more followers. the same went for the 20 non-models he used for the diesel campaign.

i will be watching nicola. because his style is sick and way ahead of the pack!


in order to keep up with nicola’s latest undertakings, follow him on his website, facebook, twitter, instagram, youtube and weibo.

photo and video credits: nicola formichetti