Paris Fashion Week’s just begun (you could say that young gun Anthony Vaccarello’s well-attended show last night was the kick-off), but all of the city’s designers have been hard at work preparing for their moment in the sun. Take Nicola Formichetti, for example: the creative director (and man behind the recent revamp) of Mugler ready-to-wear has been busy tweaking samples, casting models, and working with his BFF Lady Gaga on a custom show soundtrack for the past week. I dropped by Mugler's Paris HQ the day before his show and was casually told, “Oh, half the stuff isn’t even here yet. Midnight is the magic hour!” You’d think the guy would be shaking in his sneakers, but he was his happy-go-lucky, multi-tasking self. Armed with a jumbo Japanese paint marker, he doodled “Nico pandas” on a hot-off-the-presses black Muglerette purse (his first bags will debut at tonight's show)—pausing once in a while to either check out the models stomping across the room in runway looks, or to refresh his iPhone apps—chatting the whole time. With Nicola, there’s always a lot going on, and a lot to talk about.
Today, for one, it’s the “Mugler woman.” Who is she? Well, when Formichetti first took over three seasons ago, it was Gaga. The hype (near hysteria, really) that surrounded her involvement that first season helped put the brand back on the map, sure, but not many people can walk around dressed like Mother Monster. So now, Nicola and his team—including makeup artist Val Garland and hairstylist Sam McKnight—are thinking of separates, mixing and matching…how a girl really dresses, and how she wants to look.
“Actually, I’ve been emailing with Kim Kardashian,” Formichetti said. “I saw a picture of her wearing my dress, and I wouldn’t have necessarily seen her being that kind of girl—it’s usually the eccentric girls wearing these clothes—but she looked fucking amazing. I emailed her straight away, and sent her a bag yesterday.” Also receiving Formichetti’s bags before they hit shelves in December: friends like Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Gwen Stefani…all accompanied by hand-written notes. He’s savvy like that, finding people’s email addresses as an entry point—and he’s lightening fast. “Actually, I thought I was fast on email—Kim is really quick,” he said. I asked if he’d seen the recent pictures of Kim’s new teacup Persian kitten, Mercy, on Instagram. (Can someone find out the stats on teacup Persian sales post-Kardashian??) “Yes! 300,000 likes, can you believe it?” Shocking, though I can believe he’d know the figure off the top of his head.
Of course, this being the 160,000+ strong Twitterer and Instagram fanatic, talk quickly turned to social media etiquette (and a download on the best apps).
“I think Instagram is better than Twitter for fashion people. Most fashion people don’t want to say so much; they’d rather say it in photos. I like Instagram better.”
“I try not to update too much. Once in the morning, and once around 3 PM. If there’s something interesting going on, then maybe more. Sometimes I have to stop myself. [Laughs] But I get unfollowed all the time; you lose your followers when you post too often. I want to unfollow my boyfriend sometimes!”
“I’m really social—my email address is easy to find; I’m pretty proactive about writing back to people and commenting. It’s all about communication.”
On Photo Apps (he ALWAYS has the best ones. Without fail.):
“I just search for fun photo apps—I never pay for them. Right now, I’m loving Mega Photo—it does everything. And Instabooth let’s you style your picture before you Instagram it. Slit-Scan Camera, that’s another good one. It’s fucking awesome.”
And how does such a visual person decide on a hair and makeup look for his show? “Well, that’s easy,” he says. “Sam and Val are the best—they can be totally creative and out there, like some of the things they do with Gaga, but then someone like Sam can do simple brilliantly. Anyone can do simple, but it's the decision-making that shows the talent—the subtlety, the taste level. And their references are the best… they’re both Instagramming like crazy!”
@formichetti (& Instagram: @NicolaFormichetti)
Photographed by Emily Weiss and Nicola Formichetti in Paris on September 26th, 2012.