Streetwear is experiencing an all-time high in fashion and the sweatshirt is its great signifier. Hoodies have come down runways from Baja East to Michael Kors this season. Street cred is another story, and within the increasingly crowded street category, Nicola Formichetti has it. The punk-goth unisex attitude of his Nicopanda line isn’t drawn from completely original ideas — Formichetti’s main inspiration is Japanese street culture — but his raw, messy way with it makes it believable, or “authentic” in the overused parlance of branding speak. That’s a compliment.
For fall, Formichetti invoked Japanese street again. “I love that they go to vintage stores and mix eras,” he said during his presentation. “They don’t really care. They buy different things and mix them with something contemporary.” He chose the Forties as his retro moment and — you guessed it — sweats for a modern clash. A male model with skunky pink hair wore a black T-shirt with a delicate white Forties-style dress tacked on the front. A girl with magenta hair wore a tomato-red hoodie with slashed elbows over a long black mourning frock in tiered ruffles, a long floppy bow tied at the neck. The collection consisted of more than just sweatshirts, but it was a key motif, worked in creative yet wearable ways worth describing. Two more: a Forties dress cut out of blue sweatshirt material flocked with black hearts, and a sleeveless, deconstructed zip-up hoodie dress in a patchwork of floral prints.
“The world is going crazy and we just need to be glowing,” Formichetti said. “I’m feeling very optimistic and colorful. “So optimistic that this season he launched Nicopanda World, a “panda-centric” accessories collection including bags, wallets and jewelry made from highly tactile faux fur and faux animal skins meant to encourage touching. It’s a feel-good enterprise.