Photo by Omar Macchiavelli for PAPER magazine
In his video for "Mad or Nah," Candy Ken is posed like a statue, painted gold, and wearing only Versace underwear.
In "Riff Raff Is Ma Daddy," he's got pink eyebrows and is wearing turquoise nail polish.
In "Basic Bitches," he’s clearly attempting to mess with notions of gender-appropriate clothing. And all throughout he’s telling you he’s not gay. But he’s totally messing with you nevertheless. (And his grills never look like they fit).
And Nicola Formichetti, former designer for Lady Gaga, is mad for Candy Ken. Paper talks to him about all those contrasts:
Why are you so obsessed with Hello Kitty?
I look like this normal, crazy gym guy and I don't want to look like that. I love combining muscles and Hello Kitty, being white and wearing grillz -- doing things that aren't supposed to go together. I love Hello Kitty and it looks good on a boy. Right now I'm working on a hip-hop EP and on a Hello Kitty song. In April, I'll shoot the Hello Kitty music video. It's a love song. Nicola is talking to Hello Kitty to see if we can shoot at the store in Tokyo, wear costumes and a full-bodied Hello Kitty suit and run through the city. I'll cover my face with the tattoos and even get Hello Kitty contact lenses.