In the Wild

How stylist and creative director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired

It involves plants, crystals and a dog named Oreo

How Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspiredHow Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired
Nicola Formichetti is a truly multifaceted creative. The award-winning fashion editor, stylist and designer is a prominent member of the Haus of Gaga (yes, that Gaga) and a creative force in his own right. “I love to be involved in all sorts of things, from fashion to designing to creative direction,” he says. “I don’t like to pigeonhole myself. I love new things, new challenges; and I am just a curious person.” But even the strongest creative forces and most curious among us have had to deal with the challenges of 2020.

Nicola recently moved to a midcentury home in Los Angeles, which has been both a creative project and source of inspiration for him. “I started my career in London, moved to New York and now I am based in Los Angeles,” he explains. “I always loved the vibe of the people and the art and of course, the nature and weather.”

There are no rules for me. Rules are there to break.

How Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired
The outdoor space has been a boon: “My favorite time in Los Angeles is the late afternoon when I get to experience the sun going down. It seems very magical here. Hanging out with [my dog] Oreo is also a plus.” Living in Los Angeles also gives Nicola more opportunity to soak up the sun—and the crystal energy—outside when he has a moment to himself, something that’s a key part of his creative process.

“Well, to create a sort of structure in your daily life I find important. Keep everything in order, like mental health, physical health, your surroundings, I like to keep all of that aligned,” Nicola says. “I am very big on meditation and keeping myself balanced. I feel like when I am very relaxed, creativity then starts to flow very easily.”

Nicola can step outside or sit by his pool to reflect and get inspired, but even those of us who aren’t in such temperate climates can bring some of that natural vibe inside. “Having a sort of nature-inspired interior is a great trick to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing the outside inside,” he suggests. Just look to his jungle-inspired bedroom, or the plethora of plants throughout his home.

The nature, the crystals, the creativity, it all works together. “I like to keep my inspirations together, creating sort of my own altar of creativity.” This could be clustered on the piano—“I have been playing the piano since I was little. It has been very cathartic for me, a form of meditation.”—or arranged and rearranged on blank slates. No surface is safe.

How Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspiredHow Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired

For me, it’s always the same: plants, crystals and nice furniture.

“I don’t know if you noticed, but I love colors and incorporating them with my decorating,” Nicola jokes. “I’m inspired by my living space. I love leaving a space in my house as a canvas so that mentally I can be always thinking about what is next for me creatively. There are no rules for me. Rules are there to break.”

Like many of us, Nicola is spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he’s continued to work as well. “Now is a very good time to reflect and look within, think about what you are really really passionate about. Take time to read books, research and discover what you really have to say. Focus less on what others are doing and thinking during this time where we are all at home.”

Since moving to Los Angeles, Nicola has also embraced a live/work lifestyle, finding that combining his office and living space has actually helped both his creativity and productivity. “In New York, I used to have a separate office. Since moving to LA, I have combined my living and work space [and] that seems balanced for me right now with everything going on. Turns out I am enjoying it a lot,” he explains. “I’ve been having fun working on Gaga’s new era, Chromatica. We have been busy working on new music videos, photo shoots and performances—and that has all kept me excited and busy.”

How Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspiredHow Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired
The objects and memorabilia throughout Nicola’s home are a sort of living resume, collected throughout his career. They provide a grounding energy, too, and a sense of place: “I always try to create a little space where I can feel at home. I used to travel a lot, so now I love creating a space that consists of plants, crystals … almost a shrine for myself. For me, it’s always the same: plants, crystals and nice furniture.”

The crystals, for instance, are a mix of gifts from friends and souvenirs from Nicola’s travels. “They are beautiful objects that have a spiritual impact and memories connected to them.” And being surrounded by beautiful, meaningful objects is certainly one way to stay inspired.

It all positively impacts Nicola’s work, too: “When I’m starting a project, I like to dream of the impossible, mixed with a collage of life experiences from the past. Because I never went to school, studying and research are also things I’ve prioritized in my creative process. I get a lot of my inspiration from that.”

How Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspiredHow Haus of Gaga Creative Director Nicola Formichetti stays inspired

QUICK FIRE

  • Work in silence or with background noise: Silence
  • Soundtrack of your life: “La Vie En Rose” by Edith Piaf
  • Coffee order: Black coffee
  • Cocktail order: Mango Bellini
  • Guilty pleasure: Noodles
  • Airport reads: Architectural Digest
  • Style icons: Maria Callas
  • Favorite designer: Alexander McQueen
  • You’ll never get sick of: RuPaul’s Drag Race
  • Current state of mind: Inspired
  • Favorite place to travel: Bali
  • Where you’d most like to live: Bali
  • Last thing you binge-watched: Schitt’s Creek
  • Your greatest extravagance: Dog food
  • Most treasured possession: My dog Oreo
  • Talent you’d most like to have: I’d love to be a writer
  • Most overused word or phrase: MAJOR
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