Fashion stylist Nicola Formichetti lifts the lid on his debut make-up collaboration with Mac

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Sophie Qureshi
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Hot pinks, cool turquoise and a heavy dose of glitter feature in the new NICOPANDA X Mac make-up collection. catches up with the man behind the inspiration… 

You probably know Nicola Formichetti as the man who styled Lady Gaga’s iconic meat dress at the 2010 MTV Awards, but his fashion CV is even more impressive than that…

The designer has worked at Mugler as creative director, Uniqlo as creative fashion director and, most recently, Diesel as artistic director but he also heads up his very own streetwear brand, Nicopanda. With a focus on all things edgy, playful and unique, it was only a matter of time before Nicola turned his hand to make-up and the next logical step was teaming up with Mac to create that panda-studded collection currently taking over your Instagram feed.

Here’s what happened when Stylist caught up with the man behind the brand-new collection.

Why did you decide to partner with Mac?

Nicola: It’s always been a dream of mine to do something with Mac and [my own brand] NICOPANDA. I knew we could do something incredible together. I trust them. It has taken time. We started a couple of years ago and the first thing I wanted to create was the base for the packaging, something unique for a new generation.

What do you mean by new generation?

N: I mean more like young at heart, a mind-set, so to speak. I don’t think about the age, it’s more the spirit - the young spirit. Everyone knows you can be old and still have fun. I was looking at what’s on the market and there was definitely a gap. People were talking about creativity and diversity, having fun, being self-expressive. That way of thinking was my initial concept. 

Did you always have a vision of how the panda would feature on the packaging?

N: Yes. Nicopanda is me and represents me. I was brought up in Asia, I’ve lived in London and I now I live in New York, so it’s all of that. The panda gives us the idea of hybrid - black and white, where East meets West. All the opposites working together. The panda is my icon so I knew I wanted it to be easily identifiable on the packaging.

How did you go about choosing the textures and colours for the collection?

N: I wanted to create something that was very, very sweet and feminine. I used pink and lilac but also within that palette I wanted to create something a little more unisex and masculine, so I included a dark navy and the black. You can mix them up all together and they work well. I don’t want to dictate what people should be wearing. I love that they can have fun and do something unique with the colours but obviously these are not just for people who want to go crazy. Anyone can wear them. 

What would you say to someone who is a bit more nervous about being creative with colour?

N: Make up - a lipstick, an eyeshadow – it’s the first thing you experiment with before fashion. It’s the easiest thing to play with because it’s not as big an investment. Have fun, go somewhere and try it out or even just do it at home, taking pictures with your friends. It’s such an experimental source, I encourage people to just try different things. Find your look through mistakes and errors and have fun. I love that. I don’t expect people to wear all these things at the same time, but just a little touch.

What’s the product you’re most proud of from the collection?

N: Well I love the packaging – the shapes and colours. The panda shape is very timeless as are the colours. I think the lipstick is my favourite. I love the mint and the pink one but the dark shades are so modern. They feel like my babies after working on it for so long!

What do you find beautiful? Where do you draw inspiration from?

N: I go for beauty which is unconventional, you know? I love uniqueness in different body shapes, and colours, having confidence. We were born in different body shapes and genders. It’s about confidence and making it your own. I think that passion and that attitude. Make-up and fashion is just a tool to support that. I also love all the drag queens, and that whole world. I feel that because of the Ru Paul TV show (RuPaul’s Drag Race), they’re much more accepted and it reaches a much wider audience.

What does the next year hold for you?

N: I’ve got some stuff up my sleeve coming soon. I really want to explore NICOPANDA and spend more time on it. It’s very exciting time for the brand and where we want to go. I want to keep working with MAC, too. I can’t say anything yet but yeah here’s lots of exciting things coming up.

NICOPANDA x MAC collection is available in store and online now

Images: Instagram / Mac Cosmetics