A year ago, most people assumed that an invincible token was some Silicon Valley mushroom-based food option, but now NFTs have gone from Reddit and Discord discussions to mainstream pop culture. For Nicola Formichetti—a creative mind who collaborates with the world’s biggest pop stars, such as Lady Gaga, Rina Sawayama and Kim Petras, and the most popular fashion brands—it was a world that welcomed him even before the word became critical. “I was always into the ideas of cyberspace, futurism and computer games. By incorporating elements into my physical work, those became my aesthetic,” says Formichetti. Now, whether the industry is ready or not, it’s set to bring the popular world of tech-risk fashion to Web3.
Fashion and technology have always come to Formichetti, even if his peers don’t understand his purpose. “When I was [the artistic director] I started using Twitter to promote my Mugler show and Instagram stuff. People thought I was crazy, but now it’s the norm,” he recalls. At the head of Paris fashion houses or his own label, Nicopanda, Formichetti is always a supporter of democratizing his work and letting his followers enter the world. In the year As he began to delve into digital art in early 2020, Formichetti recognized the same similarities. He moved to Los Angeles, split his time between New York, Italy and Japan, and got fired up by jumping between three different companies. Then the pandemic hit, and he was stuck at home, still working on projects, but suddenly more hands-on than ever. “I Googled ‘digital fashion’ and ‘what is blockchain?’ I was familiar with cryptocurrency but not attracted to it,” he explains. “I started finding artists to collaborate with. I felt really inspired and thought it could be a game changer.”
From researching the concept to creating it seemed a logical next step, so Formichetti began working with Brazilian drag performer Pablo Vitar and 3D artist Alejandro Delgado on a series of four NFTs for his first project. Launched in conjunction with Vitar’s latest album, the images feature the artist stunningly and head-to-toe amidst surreal landscapes as undulating waves of water and sand surround her. They are instantly recognizable as examples of Formichetti’s futuristic and avant-garde aesthetic. However, digital replicas of Formichetti’s digital work, including one he did with Georgian artist Gigi Gvalia, can be the most sought-after. The 3D models required a small army of cameras to capture every inch of Formichetti’s body, and the images were converted to NFTs. The first, titled “ED3N_001,” features flowers bursting from the ceiling, while the second, “Self-Love,” depicts Formichetti as an act of self-acceptance. Both were released in May with a focus on inclusion and diversity.
Working with queer artists has always been part of the plan and an extension of the Formicetti ethos that has been ingrained in fashion since its inception. “I’ve always wanted to beat the underdogs. From the beginning of my career, I’ve supported young designers that people didn’t know about, a9, and now it’s the same,” says Formichetti. And bringing these artists into the world of fashion and vice versa. But is the fashion industry ready to enter this new, nebulous territory? Formichetti is optimistic. I talk a lot about futurism, but I’m very nostalgic. There’s a beautiful saying about how you have to look back to move forward. . And that’s the key: You have to bring the human element into the digital world. That mix makes it amazing, you know?”
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