Designer Nicola Formichetti is an unstoppable powerhouse with an insatiable appetite to keep learning, creating and innovating.
By Hassan Al-Saleh
Nicola Formichetti is no ordinary fashion designer. Bursting with creativity and curiosity, he continues to prove his fashion prowess by breaking the rules and transgressing boundaries. Today, he has become an unstoppable powerhouse as the Artistic Director of Italian denim-brand Diesel and Chief Creative Officer of his own clothing label Nicopanda. What started in 2011 as a playful apparel collection inspired by a fictional animated panda character inspired by Formichetti’s nickname, Nicopanda is now transitioning into a fully-fledged fashion and lifestyle brand. And as if that wasn't enough, he also has his own magazine called Free in Japan.
“I am lucky to be able to do what I love! Every day is different it’s always fun and inspiring, plus I get to work with so many different people.” - Nicola Formichetti
A multi-disciplinary artist known for his vital, youthful aesthetic, Formichetti is the son of a Japanese mother and Italian father and has spent time living in London and New York. He started his career at British magazine Dazed & Confused in the mid-2000s working as a fashion editor and climbing up the ranks to Creative Director. But it was his work as a personal style advisor to Lady Gaga that catapulted him into a new realm of popularity and fame. After two years with Parisian couturier Mugler, Formichetti stepped down from his position as Creative Director to spearhead Diesel’s monumental reboot, tasked with bringing back the coolness of the brand and move it forward.
For Formichetti, it was – and still is – normal to be different. In many ways, it is second nature growing up as an Italian boy in Japan and a Japanese boy in Italy. Perhaps this is the fuel to his creative genius – uninhibited by fear, criticism, disapproval and rejection. Defined by his boundless inventiveness and innate ability to engage with millennial consumers around the world, he is the visionary behind unconventional campaigns such as the one for Diesel that was shot with an iPhone by photographer Nick Knight and the collaboration with Instagram-based artist Doug Abraham, aka BessNYC. Of course, who can forget the advertisements that appeared on adult entertainment websites and social networking applications.
Images by Andy Rolfes.