Footage from Nightlife.ca’s cover shoot with Rick Genest
Muse to Nicola Formichetti and star of Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video, Rick Genest, also known as Rico and “Zombie Boy,” is shaking up the image of the fashion world. With a full-body skeleton tattoo, this freak show performer caught the attention of Formichetti, creative directer at Mugler and fashion director for Lady Gaga.
Rico was a homeless performer when Formichetti first contacted him via Facebook to come to Paris for Mugler Homme. In order for him to get a passport to be there for the show, Formichetti paid thousands of dollars in fines that he had received from sleeping on the streets. Two weeks after being first contacted, Zombie Boy walked in Mugler’s runway show in January and became an overnight celebrity.
Formichetti claims that he reworked and added more pieces to the line after seeing pictures of Rico. The influence from Zombie Boy has moved this luxury label to a more gritty and goth aesthetic, where freak is chic. In an interview, Formichetti said, “I just really fell in love with the way he lived. In a way his story is similar to Gaga, in that there’s no going back. You do what you believe. You are that, you are what you’re creating.”
When fashion is a world of trends and change, how do permanent full body tattoos fit in? There’s Michele Lamy, Rick Owens’ wife and muse with her gold teeth, inked fingers, and facial tattooes, who rattles the cage of traditional beauty in the fashion industry. Now we have Zombie Boy.
In case you have not seen it, watch as Lady Gaga gives birth to Zombie Boy, evil incarnate, in the video for her single “Born This Way”.
Article by Amy Tabarly for XXXX Magazine