Last year, Vancouver was panned as the world’s third worst-dressed city for our love affair with yoga gear. But recently, Global Language Monitor ranked Vancouver as the fashion capital of Canada. The onslaught of celebrity fashion visitors (Victoria Beckham, Jason Wu, Erdem) in 2012 makes this turnaround credible. In fact, perhaps we didn’t deserve the bad rap at all.
Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti was in Vancouver this week and fell hard for Vancouver street fashion.
Formichetti is the creative director at French fashion house Mugler (a role his friend Lady Gaga pushed him to accept) and was in Vancouver to preview the launch of Mugler’s spring 2013 at the Bay on Granville in Vancouver’s downtown shopping district.
While staying at the iconic Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Formichetti had a chance to visit the downtown Pacific Centre shops and dine at L’Abattoir in hip and historic Gastown. Find out his thoughts on Vancouver fashion, working with Lady Gaga and Mugler, below.
Lady Gaga’s Stylist Visits Vancouver
Known as Mr. Gaga for his friendship and role as stylist to the Godzilla of pop stars, Formichetti has been creating the over-the-top Gaga look since 2009. He’s styled Lady Gaga’s meat dress, her sold-out Monster Ball Tour, the video for Telephone, and the drag Jo Calderone look in Vogue Hommes Japan, to name but a few. He’s also the fashion director for Vogue Hommes Japan and the fashion director for Uniqlo.
Me: Welcome to Vancouver. Is it your first time here? Have you had a chance to see any fashion in Vancouver? What are your impressions?
Nicola Formichetti: I love it here. It’s my first time here. I woke up really early this morning to walk around and meet the city. I went to all the stores to check out the looks. The kids I saw this morning looked completely styled head to toe; they looked really cool. To me, shop assistants are the key. They represent the coolest people, especially in cities in Canada and Asia, where it’s still developing. In Vancouver, you’re not jaded like New York and Paris. I also saw an Apple store and I had to get an iPad mini (which doesn’t leave his side during the convo).
Me: With nearly 170,000 Twitter followers and lots of time in the press, do you find that Vancouverites recognize you?
NF: Yeah. I talked to people. I was like: “You look really cool.” And they were like: “Oh my God!” We took pictures.
Me: Let’s talk about you and Lady Gaga. She’s your friend? How would you describe your chemistry? How did you guys meet?
NF: We met on a (photo) shoot. I say: “It was instant love.” She is a crazy woman and I thought finally someone outrageous has come along.
Me: Does she call you “Nicopanda” like in the remix of the song Cake Like Lady Gaga that was released at the Mugler spring/summer 2013 fashion show?
NF: (Laughs) Sometimes.
Me: What do you guys have in common?
NF: The love of fashion. The love of Mugler and couture. We were both already fans of Mugler before I started to work here. When I got the job offer, she was the one who really pushed me to take the job. She’s a friend.
Me: I heard her bum inspired one of the bags in your new hand bag line. Is that true?
NF: Oh yes. The bag Monster X is inspired by Lady Gaga’s bumbum.
Me: You’re visiting Vancouver to debut Mugler’s spring/summer 2013 collection at the Room at the Bay. You’ve also brought an amazing collection from the Mugler archives that will remain in Vancouver until Nov. 12. Tell me, what is the Mugler look?
NF: It’s always evolving. I became creative director two years ago. We always start from the archive which you can see now outside, all in one place. We start from the spirit. The Mugler woman is strong and confident, a little bit outrageous and sexy too. We’re moving toward much more contemporary and urban street look, which is very exciting for us because it’s never been done by Mugler before.
Me: As a creative, you have a unique skill for social media. Why are tools like Twitter important to you as a stylist and as Mugler’s creative director?
NF: If you live with it, you should use it. When I was younger I would have loved to see what people I admired were doing. I love to share; this inclusiveness is great. You can see, I’m always checking (holds up iPad mini).
It’s something that’s a part of my normal daily life. But Twitter only works if you do it yourself. That’s what Gaga told me. She was the one who got me into Twitter. She checks everything herself on Twitter. She talks to all these people. People are not stupid. They can see when it’s done by marketing people.
Me: What do you get from your Twitter followers.
NF: A true opinion. It’s just like talking to friends. All the people who follow me are already interested in what we do at Mugler. So I value their criticism, or the positive response. They say it because they want me to know. It’s direct communication with our community and it’s important to us.
Me: Will you return to Vancouver?
NF: I hope so. It’s beautiful.
Formichetti has already departed for LA and Tokyo, but the Mugler style archive will remain at the Bay until November 12.