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Nicola Formichetti in Singapore: "Lady Gaga Made My Creations Alive"

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Nicola Formichetti is on an Asian tour. A couple of weeks ago, I met him in Hong Kong for his pop-up Nicopanda store. During my one-on-one interview with him, he revealed to me that he was going to Bali for a quick break right after the store event. On Twitter, he took his followers on holiday with him via the photographs he tweeted of Bali's sights and beaches. Today, he was in Singapore for the week-long fashion festivities in the city.

First on his agenda was a sit-down conversation with British fashion journalist Colin McDowell, who has been a strong supporter of Singapore's fashion scene. The conversation is part of a series of talks and workshops for the Asia Fashion Summit. Tomorrow, he will show Mugler's fall 2012 collection, which he said he has tweaked for Singapore's Audi Fashion Festival.

Below are the highlights from the McDowell-Formichetti conversation:

On his fashion education...
I did not study fashion. I moved to London and I lied to my mom and told her I wanted to study architecture. I stayed at the university for one week and I went clubbing for the next three years. I don't recommend that to anyone.

On breaking into the fashion industry...
I started working in a cutting-edge store in SoHo in London and that's where I met everyone. Working in a store and being a shop assistant, if you don't know what to do and you like fashion, I think it's a great way of getting into the business because you do windows, cleaning, and everything. That was my school for two years, working in a shop and that's how I met people in magazines and designers.

On being half-Asian...
I am 34 years-old, but I look younger because I am half-Asian.

On the impact of social media...
I love the whole digital world we are going to. I loved when the bloggers were sitting front row and typing and the editors were, "Argh"... I loved it. I loved the fact that we are all on the same level now. So you have to be good at what you do.

On Twitter's reaction to his work...
It's like your friends telling you if they like something you did. It's so fast. I get to talk to so many people through social media.

On meeting and working with Lady Gaga...
I was listening to her music three or four years ago. She was known, but not famous. I saw her in an outfit that looked like she copied it on Style.com. I wanted to do a shoot with her but many magazines declined. V magazine agreed, but nobody wanted to lend me clothes because she wasn't cool. Too vulgar. People were really quite against her. Very few were supportive like Alexander McQueen and Prada. Prada always says she likes bad taste. Now that I think about it, maybe she likes Lady Gaga because she likes bad taste.

Gaga made my creations alive. That was very exciting for me. It was like my creation had a voice.

On working at Mugler...
Creative director sounds amazing but I am just a collaborator. I just have a great team, a great atelier. And I just sort of help them out (laughs...), I do more than that.
I got the call two years ago and I declined at the very beginning. Thierry Mugler was my absolute favorite and I didn't want to insult him. I was very scared. Gaga convinced me to call them back.

On building a brand...
It has to be pure and has to come from you. If you think about money too much at the very beginning that's not a good way to start. We creative people should focus more on creative and money will just come.

On suffering for his craft...
I always go in as if it's the first time, as if I am 18 and living in SoHo. I don't suffer.

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