Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A New Kind of Power Couple: Lady Gaga and Nicola Formichetti

In an industry where it constantly rains design, ripples are endless. Every now and again, however, a wave is made which affects the entire motion of the fashion collective. With his bold and unusual references, design innovation, and prolific output, the latest creative director of Thierry Mugler, Nicola Formichetti, can be said to be one of these waves. Starting out as stylist before hitching his star to culture-emitting zeitgeist Lady Gaga, the young Japanese-Italian can be said to have quite a ride to his current position. With the fearlessness and energy of Hokusai's Great Wave off Kanagawa, Formichetti has swept into a top creative position and he wants you to take notice.

From the outset of his acceptance as Mugler's creative director Formichetti has been unafraid to look at things differently. His choice of model for the AW11 menswear collection was nothing if not controversial. Turning the classic psychology of aspirational advertising on it's head, Formichetti asked a contemporary incarnation of Death- a man who chose to cover his body in over 150 accurate anatomical tattoos- to star in his campaign.

The results are certainly stunning. Despite casting an unsettling initial impression, the designer has rendered the campaigns- and the clothes- insanely attractive in a way more dynamic than that of the majority of fashion houses. Formichetti has chosen a universal and timeless theme and has brought it to life in a way which is modern, accessible and undeniable.

This clever and unconventional approach has been instrumental not only in his own rise, but in the iconic success of pop star Lady Gaga. Drama has always been the hallmark of both her and Formichetti's visions, but it is in the unexpected choices and sources of subject that Nicola has excelled in promoting both himself and the formidable singer to crazy levels of widespread hype and devotion.

A look at Gaga pre-Formichetti shows the drastic ways in which her look and philosophy has been so positively affected by the creative collaboration of the two parties.

Back in 2008, Gaga's image lacked both direction and dynamism. Whilst the will to stand out was clear, Gaga tended to visually resemble a confused cross between an 80's throwback and a lost character from the Brothers Grimm. There was little to indicate the magnitude of creative ambitions which lay down the singer's path at this point.  Gaga's look, and wider ideology could have been best described at this time as embryonic. Whilst she wandered in the fashion wilderness, however, Formichetti was making his mark as a successful and sought-after collaborator as a stylist with a range of magazines and other fashion projects.

Nicola's direction has arguably always been ahead of the trend, as evidenced in the magnificent works he has produced for countless magazines in his pre-Gaga period.

But his meeting with the pop singer and their subsequent collaborations have only strengthened and intensified his vision and ambition. This collaboration is certainly not the first between fashion and music (or celebrity in a wider sense), but it has certainly served to redefine the output which can be gained from such a partnership, through the unique intensity and natural fit of the two parties. Since meeting the pop star on the set of a 2009 shoot for V Magazine. Formichetti has been integral in the change and refinement of Gaga's look and the honing of his own skills as designer and stylist.

From this point onwards, Formachetti's work both within and without the Haus of Gaga has become ever more exciting, refined and courageous. This effect has been amplified yet more on the other side of this creative collaboration. Gaga's image is practically unrecognisable in terms of it's artistic achievement and aesthetic merit in comparison with her style and direction before meeting Nicola.

The effect of this collaboration has been evident. A subsequent awakening of fresh creative possibilities which was put within reach as they gained more and more success means that the two halves have gone from strength to strength. As a collaboration, it seems that the two have found the perfect fit. But more excitingly, Mugler has gained a fresh and unprecedented creative talent which is sure to put this fashion house well ahead of the curve trend-wise.
There are few who interpret and feed the zeitgeist as well as Formichetti. In tandem with his creative lover, he is the architect for a startling and unprecedented new type of relationship between fashion and music, style and performance which is vastly appealing and seemingly inexhaustible. We can't wait to see what he produces next- there are sure to be many more refreshing, dramatic and achingly cool ideas up his sleeve just for starters. This newcomer has all the makings of a high priest of the same undeniable and achingly cutting-edge cool which has lead Gaga to so much success.

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