Photography: Kohl Murdock
Since the brand’s conception, Nicopanda has always wrestled with Japanese street style, creating collections of Harajuku extremes: extremely cute, extremely cartoonish, extremely romantic. While consistently stimulating, it always felt like founder Nicola Formichetti was conflicted with where he wanted to take this project, these maximal ventures outlining his confusion.
This season, Nicopanda presented a more balanced palette, grouping all these ideas into one aesthetic whirlpool that flirted with Nicopanda’s many faces and clearly carved out a focused voice for the first time. Formichetti’s baby is all grown up, or at least in its early twenties, finding equilibrium between eastern aesthetics, vintage allusions and nightlife subversion.
Models all filed onto a giant platform stage, covered entirely in silver glitter—an element foreshadowed on Instagram with the warning, “Get ready to be glittered.” This motif spilled onto clothes, as well: a pair of glitter trousers, styled with a logo-emblazoned harness, a boxy, glitter topcoat worn over a sheer dress detailed with horizontal glitter pinstripes. Even Nicopanda’s flatforms, a collaboration with Metal Gienchi, were dusted with whimsical glitter.
Across the way watched NYC club pillar Nicky Ottav, who admired the bold spectacle, wide-eyed; you could easily imagine him stocking his wardrobe with these fall ’16 essentials—perfect for transitioning from day-to-night(life).
A signature collision of “fantasy and function,” the pieces Nicopanda rolled out this season offered classic streetwear silhouettes—bombers, tees, hoodies—laced with the romanticism of distant decades. Floral fabrics and plunging necklines echoed the ’40s, incorporating just enough luxury from Nicopanda’s spring ’16 collection for this chapter to feel like a natural extension.
Though Formichetti’s proudly pioneered a fusion of high-to-low fashion in previous seasons, this was his most seamless attempt to date: fur-trimmed, crocodile backpacks worn with chiffon cocktail dresses and elbow-length gloves, flouncy, feminine blouses styled with mall goth trousers—just enough costume-like glamour to cut the edge of Formichetti’s innate underground grit.
The Nicopanda world is a light-hearted, colorful escape from reality, and with it, a genuine abandonment of binaries in a way that doesn’t mindlessly submit to the industry’s genderless bandwagon. Formichetti’s created pieces that work on all bodies, playing with femininity through textiles and masculinity through shape—loud amplifications of each, so that the separation is no longer, just an explosive emission of vibrating, throbbing, shaking energy.
…Oh, and Lady Gaga was appropriately in attendance, post-Grammy’s David Bowie hair and all. We snapped this photo because that’s what one does when the rare, Mother Monster enters any room (or whatever):