Designer Nicola Formichetti’s AW ‘15 Nicopanda presentation popped off this afternoon with the popping of balloons as a model fainted and dropped to the ground, crushing the set she stood in. “I need help,” screamed the neighboring model, holding the limp girl in her arms. As tense fashionistas awkwardly watched the scene unfold—sipping champagne from flutes—Formichetti ran to the scene to help the lifeless model back to her feet. Wonderfully genuine and hands-on, it was refreshing to see the Italian-Japanese visionary do something so down-to-earth, especially since his installation was up in the stars.
The Soho space was divided into two rooms: An entrance, adorned with color-blocked mannequins surrounded by hanging ribbons and the second space, home to several tableaus with living models. Everything had a sugary dose of saccharine sweetness, balanced with the campy Tumblr punk sensibility that Formichetti’s known to embrace. Models were scattered throughout the room, some posed on monochromatic bicycles attached to shiny balloons and others sitting on the floor, holding giant childlike pinwheels. Clothes were all unisex and detailed with oversized silver zippers, statement ruffles and delicate lace.
In the sea of technicolor tastemakers hungry to pose for photographs, we caught up with Formichetti to talk all things Nicopanda.
What is it about unisex fashion that attracts you?
“I’m just smelling the world and responding to what’s happening. I look at all my friends and cool kids and I just love listening to what they think. Boys dressed like girls—girls dressed like boys, I’ve always loved that. Now it’s becoming more mainstream, but I think that’s a great thing. All the trans people out there, it’s like, finally. Black, white, whatever. That’s why I think the uniform needs to be much more, “one,” just so we can play and mix [styles] up. In a way, Nicopanda is the uniform for this new genderless community. All the models today come in different sizes and colors—I love that. “
You didn’t book traditional models for this presentation. Where did you scout them?
“I find them all on Instagram. I love models—high fashion models—because they make your clothes look like a dream, but for me, Nicopanda is about reality and the streets, so I always go for cool kids that I find on Instagram, instead. It’s much more believable—I don’t need to make a fantasy, here. Nicopanda needs to be believable.”
How does Nicopanda differ from your other projects?
“Half of me is always Nicopanda—it’s my Japanese side. It’s something I don’t really get to explore with my work at Diesel. Diesel is much more about Rock ‘N’ Roll, denim and leather, but Nicopanda is about exploring my Japanese heritage—punk, kawaii, Harajuku-meets-New York and London.”