Fashion designer and editor Nicola Formichetti reconnects with himself in a tranquil house of contradictions in California.
At only 45 years old, Nicola Formichetti is already a legend in the fashion world. The designer is accustomed to key roles in the industry with renowned brands including Diesel, Mugler, Uniqlo, and Vogue Hommes Japan, to name a few. Working as a creative consultant with superstar Lady Gaga, this prolific and successful creative mind, who is also behind his own gender-neutral, high-concept streetwear brand Nicopanda, felt the need to slow down around early 2020. “I’ve worked a lot and done everything in fashion for the last 20 years,” confesses Formichetti. “I used to live in New York, and I moved to Los Angeles just a month before the pandemic happened to kind of rediscover myself.”
Originally planned to be Formichetti’s second home with his three dogs Oreo, Prince, and Lars, this California house located in the Hollywood Hills, surrounded by nature, quickly became the perfect quarantine refuge. “It was very easy to find it – almost meant to be – as it was recommended by a friend,” remembers the designer. “I love to walk around the area, which is famous for being an alternative for Beverly Hills that is flashier. Here, it’s a little more discreet. The history of old Hollywood pervades, and Laurel Canyon is famous for its music scene in the 70s and the 80s. There is a true community vibe.”
Arriving at Formichetti’s home, a concrete facade is an invitation to step inside the spaces spread across one floor. The home includes two living rooms, a kitchen with a sitting area, the main bedroom with its bathroom and walk-in closet, and two guest rooms. The exterior encompasses the pool and three outdoor spaces with exceptional views, perfect for enjoying the sunny weather of LA all year long. “What I immediately loved was the unique design and in particular the circular living room,” he recalls. “I am calling it the round house but at the same time it has a minimal feeling with all the concrete. It looked like it would be a great canvas to put my fun stuff.” Passionate about interior design, Formichetti decorated everything himself, following an approach where the leitmotif was keeping the furniture simple but effective, not creating something too permanent, and surrounding everything with plants, flowers, and art.
Constantly bringing fashion pieces into his house, Formichetti wanted to create the perfect backdrop to reflect his personal influences. “I am from both East (Japan) and West (Italy),” he says. “There is definitely always this contradiction between something very minimal but also maximalist, between something very colorful but also black-and-white, between something serious but also more fun. I feel like my world is a mixture of all of that.” Japanese objects and childish toys combine with elevated pieces such as a Robert Mapplethorpe photograph in the living room – one of Formichetti’s treasures. “A friend gave me the giant disco ball for my birthday, so this is very special to me,” he adds. “I surround myself with things I love. This is how I feel inspired. My fashion style is a little bit like my house; I want to be sometimes easy and sometimes crazy – or both.”
A flower vase by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce and the pink doughnut-shaped Boa poufs by Sabine Marcelis for Hem are some of the other statement pieces in Formichetti’s house, which playfully blends high and low. “My home is both calm and very energetic,” he says. “It’s my own temple, my safe space where I get to do whatever I want. I consider myself a nomad; I’ve lived all around the world, and this is the longest time – two-and-a-half years now – that I’ve stayed in one place.”Waking up to watch the sunrise, hiking, playing piano, reading books, working, and cooking are activities that are all now part of the designer’s daily routine. “It’s a very non hectic environment, a tranquil fantasyland that has allowed me to work on a more personal, till now secret project,” he shares for the first time. “For the past months, my house has become like a little alchemy studio lab where I am making my own perfumes, smells, and candles. I’ll launch my first scents very soon.” Dreaming of traveling more next year, Formichetti has the Middle East at the top of his list. “I haven’t been to the region for some time now and I miss it; I’d like to go over and get some stuff for my house,” he smiles.
Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2022 issue of Vogue Living Arabia