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Lady Gaga's stylist still sees the world with the eyes of a child, he tells Xu Junqian.
He went from being one of thousands of fans barred from an Alexander McQueen fashion show to become the creative director of French fashion house Thierry Mugler. Nicola Formichetti says it took a "childish heart" to walk through the trajectory.
"I am always that little boy looking at everything like a little kid. I try not to think too much and go with my gut feeling," says the 35-year-old fashion director and stylist.
For the past decade, the "childish heart" has earned the half-Italian-and-half-Japanese fashioniasta a CV that includes fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan, creative consultant of clothing company Uniqlo, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, and perhaps, most notably, the stylist that dresses Lady Gaga, if not defines the world's most controversial fashion diva.
"For me, she's such a good friend and inspiration," he tells China Daily from backstage at the debut show of Mugler in Asia at the Audi Fashion Festival in Singapore.
The son of an Italian pilot and a Japanese stewardess, he inherited "his fashion DNA" from his mother. Formichetti started as a shop assistant in a boutique store in London, thrilled to have moved to the city of his favorite fashion designers like Alexander McQueen and Vivien Westwood. He reached his breakpoint when he was invited to write a monthly column called "Eye Spy" by the Dazed and Confused magazine in his early 20s.
But it wasn't until his collaboration with Lady Gaga in 2009, first at a photo shoot for V magazine, that his name became widely known in the crowded industry.
"When I first met Gaga, she was still outside (the mainstream), and so was I. But there was an instant love between us," he says.
"She's fabulous, you know, she's great, I mean, thank God for her, thank God that someone is taking risks and trying to make us dream and fantasize. I think she represents the kind of bad kids that we all have inside and the representation of that punk, couture woman that we all wanna aspire to."
But apparently, that kind of "aspiration" wasn't universal before the name of Lady Gaga meant something in the musical world. Formichetti recalls that he had to lie about whom he was borrowing the clothes for because those big brands didn't want their attire on the "vulgar club singer".