With aughts fashion making its comeback (haven’t you heard?), Nicky Hilton finds herself is in the unique position of influencing the moment from both the past and the present. As a young party-hopping socialite, Hilton and sister Paris dominated the celebrity street style columns in magazines in the early 2000s (before Instagram’s domination). Now, as a designer and model returning to a renewed pop culture spotlight with a little help from her sister and mother Kathy, Hilton is once again facing the trends that dominated Y2K fashion.
“I look back on it with very fond memories,” Hilton told FN of the time, noting that she has kept most of her wardrobe from the era — from MTV VMA dresses to the striped shirts and track shorts she and Paris wore down the runway at Richie Rich’s Heatherette, circa 2006. “It was just such a fun, carefree time. We weren’t totally grown-ups yet so we didn’t have any real responsibilities, and dressing up was just fun and effortless. It was imaginative. Paris and I never employed a stylist. “
As it turns out, Hilton’s personal style history has influenced the decade’s fashion in more ways than one, especially in the late aughts cult series “Gossip Girl.” The show, which had its own reboot in July, is now a key point of inspiration for the designer’s new fall ’21 French Sole collection.
Hilton is introducing two new styles, the Serena (a color blocked leather ballet flat with a thin ribbon bow) and the Blair (a matte leather flat with laser-cut piping and an oversized bow that could fit well on a headband, natch), referencing the original 2007 series’ main rival characters. She joins other brands such as Monse and Christopher John Rogers in the “Gossip Girl” revival.
“It resonates with me because I lived it,” said Hilton, who graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls Catholic school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. “When I first saw the show, I thought it was a much more glamorous version of what I experienced in school — a lot more salacious. The fashion was so great, you just looked forward every week to seeing what these high schoolers are wearing.”
Elsewhere in the collection, the designer is debuting the Teddy, a flat loafer that is part shoe part slipper, with a textured shearling teddy bear motif across the toes.
“I came up with the idea long before Covid, and I had put it on the back burner. But then all of my friends asked if I could make some shoes that are cute and cozy because they’re basically wearing my slippers out and around anyway,” said Hilton, who plans on wearing the indoor-outdoor shoes with jeans or leather leggings and her favorite Max Mara Teddy coat.
The Nicky Hilton x French Sole fall ’21 collection is available now.