Despite being known for his head-turning looks—on himself, as well as clients like Lady Gaga—Nicola Formichetti keeps his camera off on our Zoom call. Though I’m initially disappointed not to witness a sartorial conversation starter via computer screen, he manages to start off just fine. In fact, the super-stylist-slash-designer brings it all the way back to the beginning, when he worked as a fashion editor at the British style magazine Dazed & Confused. “Obviously we had to do all of these photo shoots with low budgets,” he says from Los Angeles, where he relocated a couple of years ago, pre-pandemic, “and Claire’s was the place to go. You had everything there. It was like a magical toolbox.”

Claire’s, he means, as in the accessories mecca originally established in 1974 which is, for most, perhaps a more familiar ’90s or 2000s nostalgia trip and an early fashion…

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