Inside Nicola Formichetti’s New York City Lair

He is a social media star, noted stylist and the man who is turning Diesel around. Here is a trip into Formichetti’s mind

Breathing back life into a stale denim brand like Diesel seems like a full-time job. But not enough for Nicola Formichetti, now he is also launching a serious fashion brand called Nicopanda. The brand had a seriously cool presentation in a private club in the Financial district during NY Fashion Week with freaky club kid models clad in bomber jackets, lace tank tops and skinny denims. All looked terrific, fresh and was filled with plenty of the moment energy with fashion’s current genderless obsession. We visited the designer and stylist in his Tribeca headquarter on White Street to get the juice from Nicopanda himself just before he took off for China.

Achtung Digital: Where does the name come from?

Nicola Formichetti: In my London days, where I lived in my 20’s, my nickname was Nicopanda. You need to know, I used to be a bear (note: that’s a bearded, fuller bodied gay man). But I was never really big or fat enough as I was always into fashion.

AD: It seems you’re busy enough as it is, so why another project?

NF: My long-term plan is to have a full-scale brand with my name. Tailoring, dresses, a serious fashion business. But Nicopanda was launched just in response to my fans asking for things and I created this Panda bear logo and started sticking it on T-Shirts etc. Low price point items for the kids. And it worked. So from doing it more informally, we have decided to now do a proper presentation with models. I am already thinking about next season and now I am ready to take these clothes on the runway.

Padded panel bomber jacket
Padded panel bomber jacket

AD: Tell us more about the clothes?

NF: They’re genderless, ageless but with attitude. Also, it’s important that we offer this at a really low price point to make it accessible. Before the end of the year, we are planning worldwide openings of pop up stores with Nicopanda. I have found an investor and we will roll out internationally.

Good color, subtle zipper detail, Nicopanda is easy
Good color, subtle zipper detail, Nicopanda is easy

AD: Few other things. What’s it like working with Renzo?

NF: He is a dream come true for me as he lets me do what I want. He pursued me for a long time and has always been a supporter of what I do and Nicopanda. Now, two years into it, I have to say it’s a monster job turning around a giant brand like Diesel. I am in Italy ten days a month and have now managed to put my network of collaborators into key positions. I think the real turn around story will only happen now. I have finally touched on all aspects of design and image.

AD: And other plans?

NF: You know, I used to work a lot more as a stylist and really enjoy being on shoots, so I want to add more of that again.

AD: And favorite designer?

NF: Carol Christian Poell, known to a few.

Salmon colored tank top with lace detailing and shiny buttoning
Salmon colored tank top with lace detailing and shiny buttoning