iModels - Model Moments




altftentimes, models are considered monotone personalities that all blend into a sea representing “fashion.” Then there are those who designers decide to catapult, usually by making them their muses. Becoming a designer’s muse allows you to represent the brand in as many facets as the designer allows, whether that be through advertising campaigns, opening or closing runway shows, being featured in fashion films or accompanying them to events. Depending on the label you are representing, being a muse can propel your career into superstardom. Just ask Rick Genest.

Being Nicola Formichetti’s muse has allowed him to be the face of Formichetti’s restoration of the Thierry Mugler label. Genest is not a model you can mistake for any other, you cannot forget what he looks like, and you cannot look for him hesitantly on the runway. Why?


As reported by HintMag’s Lee Carter, Genest is covered in tattoos, from his scalp down to his toes, minus one part. What is even more incredible than Genest’s appearance is his discovery. Formichetti found Genest on Facebook after having seen his picture on Google. His initial reaction was assuming that it was body painting. Months later, when getting his first tattoo, his tattoo artist saw the picture of Genest he had put on his wall saying, “that guy is Zombie Boy”. Clearly, he recognized him. Until then Formichetti did not know that the image was actually of a tattoo-covered body. He was fascinated, and began his search of Genest.

Muses are meant to inspire, bring new life to projects or ideas and reinforce the desire to create. Formichetti set after Genest with the fixed idea to incorporate him into his project at Mugler.

Once firmly deciding he was going to work with him, Formichetti began altering the collection,

“I just thought he was so inspiring. Just by looking at his pictures I changed the whole collection […] So basically I Facebooked him and was like ‘You know, I’m doing this thing in Paris and I would love you to be there in two weeks.’ He emailed me back straightaway and he was like, ‘Yeah, sure, I would love to, but I don’t have a passport”

altNot having a passport was just the beginning. When Formichetti decided to prepare a runway show, he needed his new influence to come walk for the label. The problem was not simply that he did not have a passport, but mostly his inability to procure one because he had no address. Genest was homeless at the time. His homelessness racked him scores of fines, which made it impossible for him to leave the country. Formichetti’s belief in Genest was profound enough to pay all the fines, to the tune of “ten or twenty” thousand dollars. Finally, Genest was able to fly to Paris and embark on his fashion calling.
The visual campaign that emerged as part of the Mugler/Genest collaboration shows what Formichetti saw in the tattooed model from the beginning.  




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Written by Contributing writer - Monday, 13 June 2011 15:50
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