Trieste, Italy (CNN)Nicola Formichetti may be the most youthful 38-year-old working in fashion today. Two years into his term as artistic director of the denim giant that is Diesel -- following three years as creative director of Mugler and a high-profile tenure styling Lady Gaga's most iconic looks (remember the meat dress?) -- the designer feels as though he's going through puberty all over again.
Teenage dreams: Diesel creative whiz kid Nicola Formichetti's fashion rebirth
"The first two years at Diesel were all about internal work. I had no idea it was this big," Formichetti says. "I feel like I'm 15 again."
Rather than sticking to design alone, he oversees everything from design and graphics to merchandising and marketing. Later this year, he'll debuting the first Diesel concept store in New York following his new vision for the brand. It's exciting.
"It wasn't the same as working with some many people on a global scale. It's taken two years now. I'm meeting everyone all around the world, seeing who's good, bringing in my people. It's like a Roman empire," he says. "Before, it was like that. I could come up with something, put it on Gaga, and then just go. Now it's a completely different beast. It's such a challenge for me, but it's exciting. I'm loving it."
During one of his rare moments off, he tells CNN Style how he copes with the stresses of work, living his teenage dreams, and why we should all be listening to Brooke Candy.
Your all time classic? Memphis Group furniture. It's been a dream of mine to own a Memphis from the 80's since I was a teenager, and I just bought one online. It's a huge shelf. It's perfect for my new house.
I'm really a simple person. I spend money on travel and holidays, but I'm very simple. But Memphis was like fuck, I gotta get it. It's great that I get to afford this now. I work really hard, and sometimes I want to get something really nice for myself.
Your current obsession? My dogs. They're called Tank and Bambi. You can follow them on Instagram. They're two-year-old Pomeranian twins.
The work of art that always moves you? Any works by Caravaggio. He's my idol.
The last show you saw? Alex Da Corte on the Upper East Side [Die Hexe at Luxembourg & Dayan Gallery]. He's an emerging installation artist from Philadelphia. He basically transformed this building with neon lights and crazy colors. He's someone to really watch out for.
Your rising star? Brooke Candy. She's my girl. She's launching her new album next year, so I'm her creative director and Sia is her music director. She can't go wrong. She's going to be the next big thing.
Your secret talent? I'm a trained pianist. I can only play classical music, but I play everything -- Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy.
Your Sunday afternoon pleasure? I love binging on TV series. I just finished The Following. I'm never at home, so when I'm at home on a Sunday I like to that. And in the morning, I go to the Flower District because I'm obsessed with plants and flowers.
The thing people find most surprising about you? I'm actually a really nice person. People think I'm a bitch!
The most heavily thumbed book on your shelf? Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. It's very short and super simple, almost for children, but it's so profound and philosophical. I love his stuff.
The occasion you're most looking forward to? My holidays in August. I'm going to Bali. I go there every year.
Home is... my home? I think I've been hanging out with too many models. (laughs) They took all the best jokes.