BEHIND THE SCENES #4: Nicola Formichetti

September 06, 2016 2:00 PM

TWELV's Behind the Scenes takes a step back and visits the masterminds behind the camera. Read as we host interviews and explore the lives of artists who shape the final product - directors, fashion designers, stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and photographers.



“What’s important is to keep taking risks and trying new things, giving opportunities to new talents.”


You are considered one of the most influential creative forces working in fashion today. How does that feel?

My job feels more like hobby than a job, really; It’s always fun. I always try to do as much as possible to keep inspired and learn about new things. What’s important thing is to keep taking risks and trying new things, giving opportunities to new talents­this is what is really important.


You are quite prolific and juggle many different projects across the globe; Where does this need to be “everywhere” come from?

Well, my parents were constantly flying, as my mother is a stewardess and my father a pilot, so I guess a part of this is my constant traveling; Also, It’s the way to keep finding new talent and new inspiration­traveling is a very important part of the inspiration process for many “creative”, I guess.


How was it to be born in Japan and to be raised in Rome? Did you try to assimilate both culture? How did they influence you and your work?

Yes I was always trying to assimilate both cultures, but London also influenced me a lot —That’s where I moved to study architecture but ended up being a club kid and then working for dazed and confused. All this together constitutes my background of mixing culture.


So, tell me, how did you get into fashion?

In my early 20’s, I used to be buyer for avant­garde London shop The Pinéal Eye, and then, Katy England of Dazed and confused asked me to be one of their fashion editors with the =eye spy= monthly column; then, I became the magazine’s fashion director in 2005.


What makes you like fashion so much?

What interests me about fashion is to destroy it in a way [and then] to recreative it — probably something I got from english punk subcultures. I also appreciate the possibilities you have in fashion to meet incredibly nice and creative people, and that you can always try new things. Fashion is a constant experimentation.


Before joining Mugler, what did you name evoke for you? Can you tell us about how you got the job at Mugler?

For me, Thierry Mugler is a fashion god. It was the perfect mix between technicality of fashion and the show, the big shows with all the supermodels, and the pop stars. A Thierry Mugler Show is beyond fashion — it’s entreatment. So when Mugler CEO Joel Palix called to ask me to become Mugler’s creative director, it was totally unexpected and I was not sure I could take over such a legacy, but after discussing the job offer with Lady Gaga, I decided to say yes!


How would you describe the new Mugler world?

The first thing we did was to change the name from Thierry Mugler to Mugler, to make a digital, global label for fashion — without frontiers. No borders, [neither] geographically nor creatively. Want to take fashion to the next level with Mugler. We have this amazing history and achieve but had to transform then into the digital world. The Mugler fashion vocabulary is still there; it’s updated into the digital fashion era. 


In addition to Mugler, you also work with Uniqlo. What do you think of this tendency for great designer to democratize fashion by making affordable, Ready­-to­-Wear Collections? What does teaming up with Uniqlo mean for you?

I am all about democratization — this is what I’m doing when we live­streamed 24/7 from the Mugler studio three days before the menswear F/W 2012, 2013 show. We opened doors to what nobody else ever showed to the world before, because I want the kids on Facebook or Twitter or Weibo to be able to be part of it. Uniqlo has this genuine democracy of fashion in the way that heir apparel is willing to help people, with easy access and helpful products. This collaboration brings to me the possibility to see all different sides of fashion, giving me a wide range of approaches to making fashion.


We live in a very digital world right now. What do you think of all these social networks, blogging, etc.? Are they good for your work?

It’s good thing. It abolishes the barrier there used to be between the elite and the rest of the world; now everybody access any information and all doors are open for everyone — this is what’s great. In my work, I collaborate with everyone on the web, and I design, as a collaborative effort, digitally people located in all parts of the world. I’m not a elitist so I want to share what I’m doing with everyone; I remember that straight after the Mugler F/W 2011, 2012 women’s show. Gaga and I ran backstage to our computer and went on Twitter to read what the fans were saying. I did put a lot of energy in the different live streams of Mugler shows because I wanted the people in front of their computer screens to have a better seat than the people in the front row!


You will soon laughing your own brand. Can you tell me more about it? Is it going to be available everywhere?

For now, NicoPanda is about accessible t­-shirts, jewelry, and other special pieces sold in temporary pop­ up stores all over the world and in select stores around the world, before the end of the year. It’s really about my alter ego NicoPanda, and it’s fun.


With so many projects in the works, how do you manage to find time to look for inspiration?

This is how I find my inspiration: By working with many, many, many different people from all over the world, from so many different fields of work, in so many different place, and for so many different projects. It keeps my mind open to new vision and brings me a constant flow of inspiration.


And how do find time for yourself? What do you like to do in your free time?

Actually, I love to use my free time to put together new ideas, so it’s kind work also, but I slide play piano. I was trained as a classical pianist as a child, so I still play for relaxation.


The theme of our issue is transformation. If you had the chance to transform into anything, what would you be?

[Laughs] Probably a panda!


Who would you like to transform into?

I think Gaga and I are already transforming her into many different characters during our collaboration together, and there’s, for sure, much more to come.∞





related posts


TWELV sits down with founders of Parlor Social Club Jan Cieslikiewicz and Frederick Ghartey to give a glimpse into the story of co-founders living in New York City.

July 21, 2022 8:28 PM  |  People

Keiichiro Nakajima interview

Keiichiro Nakajima is a photographer and director based in Japan, represented by a management and production company called Signo, Inc, which is one of the largest and leading artist management...

October 23, 2021 1:37 AM  |  People

SHIN FUJIYAMA Founder of Students Helping Honduras INTERVIEW

Japanese-American philanthropist Shin Fujiyama co-founded Students Helping Honduras with his sister Cosmo Fujiyama.

December 20, 2020 8:02 PM  |  People


Beginning with his childhood in Lebanon, Eli Mizrahi garnished inspiration from across the globe to debut his evening wear brand, Mônot, last fall.

December 07, 2020 10:34 PM  |  People


KAORI is a renowned make-up artist and the creative director of RMK beauty, a flourishing Japanese makeup and skincare brand that is now sold worldwide.

November 11, 2020 10:39 PM  |  People


The Mind Behind The Runway

September 30, 2020 3:58 PM  |  People



February 12, 2020 10:32 PM  |  People


It has become almost useless and banal to introduce Jean-Paul Gaultier.The mere mention of his name alone elicits a constellation of images that have become part of our mind and imagination since...

February 12, 2020 9:31 PM  |  People


Dara Senders, the designer behind the eponymously titled, all size inclusive brand that launched in 2018, has always been obsessed with fashion.

January 28, 2020 11:50 AM  |  People


From a small city near Milan to Downtown New York, Paolo, Designer and creater of NTTE Hatsdiscovered his passion for hats and anything vintage at a young age.

November 19, 2019 6:29 PM  |  People


1. As a new designer, how do you hope to distinguish yourself among other designers?

November 19, 2019 6:05 PM  |  People


Nian Fish, creative director of KCD, has been, for decades, a pivotal figure in the fashion world, assembling and producing fashion shows that have become cultural benchmarks unto themselves, such...

September 17, 2019 6:45 PM  |  People


Cesar Love Alexadre is a duo of visual artists formed by Isabelle Chaput and Nelson Tiberghien.They met at the Gobelins school of Photography in Paris and now based in New York where they work on...

September 17, 2019 6:42 PM  |  People


TWELV got a special interview from Tom Pecheux. Read as we host interviews and explore the lives of artists who shape the final product - directors, fashion designers, stylists, ...

August 20, 2019 3:17 PM  |  People


Anthony Vaccarello was considered as one of the brightest new talent in fashion: he was part of this new generation of talents the whole industry has kept an eye on to see them grow, to see them...

July 24, 2019 12:03 AM  |  People

Why is Everyone in Hollywood Buzzing About Actress Malgosia Garnys?

Have you ever felt like you were beautiful and powerful and the universe was conspiring in your best interest, and your opportunities were endless because you’ve lost people you loved...

March 02, 2019 10:00 PM  |  People

R.I.P Chek Wu

We at TWELV are deeply saddened to announce the passing of talented photographer, boundless free-spirit, and our friend, Chek Wu.

November 28, 2018 12:00 PM  |  People

GatherNYC: Everything We Love About Church With No Weird Stuff

GatherNYC is Everything We Love About Sunday Service With None of the Weird Stuff


November 17, 2018 3:00 PM  |  People

NEW TYPE #33: Catherine Casias Inteview

If fashion is an expression of experiences, Catherine Casias has a lot of area to cover. She has excelled as an Olympic volleyball player, a philosophy major, and a fine artist....

October 12, 2018 4:00 PM  |  People

Party Czar Carmen D’Alessio, Empress of the Sun and the Queen of the Night

You may not know Carmen D’Alessio by name.

October 08, 2018 10:00 PM  |  People
Shot by CHAMA


IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang


August 28, 2018 5:00 PM  |  People


IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang


August 07, 2018 5:00 PM  |  People


"Introducing an innovative Men’s designer to inspire you with the visions of future and the rise of technology."

June 26, 2018 4:00 PM  |  People
Silvia Mella (right) with Thomas De Bruyne for "House of Molteni"

Branding in the Worlds of Art and Commerce According to Silvia Mella

Branding is everything. For an entrepreneur, it is the difference between viability and bankruptcy. On social media, we are all our own brands.

May 21, 2018 4:00 PM  |  People
Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker. Video Still.

Interview: Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker

TWELV sat down with Jackie Yang, Creative Director of Chelsea and Walker, in the brand’s New York City...

May 21, 2018 2:00 PM  |  People
Krystal and Marilyn Lavoie

New Type #31: Angela Mitchell – Krystal and Marilyn Lavoie Interview

We are living in the age of fast fashion, and even Europe’s most storied luxury brands have been moving their factories to Asia to reduce costs.

May 17, 2018 3:00 PM  |  People

Ikemen #37: Dominik Halas

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang


May 03, 2018 12:00 PM  |  People
Bianca Allen, Carolina Sarria, and Samantha Deller

New Type #30: Carolina Sarria & Bianca Allen Interview

Both Carolina Sarria and Bianca Allen knew they wanted to become fashion designers from a young age.

April 16, 2018 5:00 PM  |  People

Interview & Backstage: Christian Siriano Celebrates 10 Years in Fashion

After the successful launch of his book Dresses to Dream About, a decade-anniversary celebration on the runway, and a whirlwind of striking celebrity looks on the red carpet of...

March 09, 2018 11:00 AM  |  People
Jackie Astier. Photo: BFA.

New Type #29: Jackie Astier Interview

Astier places its identity within the advanced adaptation skills of the modern New York woman.

February 24, 2018 11:00 AM  |  People

INTERVIEW: Meet Kiko Arai, Miss Japan-turned Face of Balmain and Zara

Kiko Arai hails from Osaka, Japan, and after winning the title of Miss Japan 2012, the now 27-year old is captivating a new audience– the fashion world.

February 06, 2018 12:11 AM  |  People

Interview: Parisian Designer Frédéric Robert's Debut Shoe Collection "ME.LAND"

A vibrant brand of Italian-made shoes for men is emerging this year as one-to-watch.

January 26, 2018 10:00 AM  |  People
Maxime Tiliouine and Quentin Hernandez

New Type #28: the Design Duo Behind Maxime Hernandez Interview

The streetwear phenomenon in the fashion establishment is not slowing down anytime soon.

January 12, 2018 2:00 PM  |  People


With a wealth of experience shooting some for some of fashion's most renowned clients (Yves Saint Laurent, Guy Laroche), ...

December 29, 2017 2:00 PM  |  People

IKEMEN #36: Jérôme LaMaar

IKEMEN (ē´k´mɛn): Japanese Slang


November 27, 2017 12:00 PM  |  People


SITE BY: monocomplex©Marbles & Marbles International Inc. Drupal Development by: DivDiv, NYC
▲ back to top ▲