On Nov. 30, Kathy, Paris and Nicky Hilton will be honored with the Icon Award at the 35th annual FN Achievement Awards. Below is an article from the magazine’s Nov. 29 print issue about some of their memorable style moments.
In the September 2000 issue of Vanity Fair, writer Nancy Jo Sales profiled the comings and goings of two Upper East Side sisters, then 19-year-old Paris Hilton and 16-year-old Nicky Hilton. The platinum blonde duo spoke to the writer from their Hamptons home as mom Kathy served lunch “clicking across the porch in a cheek-high Lilly Pulitzer skirt and Sergio Rossi sandals.” They showed off family home videos and fended off rumors of a Leo DiCaprio-Paris romance.
Later, Sales would follow the sisters in their matching mini skirts as they bounced from club to club while a film crew captured their moves for an upcoming documentary. An accompanying photo shoot by David LaChappelle had Paris and Nicky cheekily standing outside a roadside motel in hot pants, and then also Paris alone, in see-through mesh and gigantic platforms, flipping off the camera inside a suite at the Waldorf, where the family lived at teh time. LaChappelle titled the shot “Grandma Hilton’s House.”
The story was a precursor to the mass fame that would come to Paris with “The Simple Life” in 2003. But it also aptly captured the family’s dynamic: the star, the chic sister and the glamorous, Hollywood-savvy mother — all with a legendary family lineage.
Twenty-some years have now passed since those first press rumblings, and the cameras are as present as ever. Paris’s Netflix show “Cooking with Paris” was a prelude to her real reality TV comeback, “Paris in Love,” which follows her engagement to now-husband Carter Reum. Kathy herself has become a star in her own right, joining the cast of the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and social media crowning her a one-woman catchphrase machine.
Here, mother and daughters Hilton take their own stroll down memory lane, looking back on the Y2K fashion frenzy that made them forever iconic.
2001: Front Row at NYFW
NICKY HILTON: “This is a Diane von Furstenberg show. I know that because of the wrap dress that I’m wearing and Paris has a geometric sundress. I’m not wearing any makeup.”
KATHY HILTON: “This was one of their first fashion shows. Diane would send boxes of her dresses over so when they would put something of hers on, I was very happy with it. Some of the others, mmm!”
2002: Attending haute couture shows in Paris
KH: “I just wanted to expose them [to couture] and they would rather be at the carnival or down in the pet district, which is really no longer. I just said, ‘I really want to bring you, it’ll be fun, and so we went and they’re sitting like, ‘So what?’ And then I took them to Galliano and they got a little more excited about that. And then the next summer they were very into it.“
PARIS HILTON: “I always loved the way my mother dressed. I used to go into her closet and borrow her clothes and Chanel bags. It was definitely a fun closet to raid.”
2002: Paris starts a trend
PH: “I used to be obsessed with low-rise jeans and I had that top in every single color. That was my favorite look, and my mom hated it.
KH: “I never saw you walk out of the house like that! This getup I’ve never seen before. But I’m sure I paid for it. Paris is very clever. I’m sure she layered on a trench coat. Wow, I guess it’s popular today. She is ahead of her time, I will say that.”
NH: “It is iconic. All the girls are copying it today. You see it on the runways in Paris.”
2003: The MTV Movie Awards
NH: “That’s a whole lot of tan!”
PH: “We definitely loved our spray tans back then! I loved that turquoise. This is definitely another iconic look. Every Halloween I see girls who re-create this look. I got it at Patricia Field.”
NH: “My dress is Tracy Feith. I think I bought it in the Hamptons.”
KH: “I have that dress, it’s here. I’ve started going through everything, and I have found all of these looks. We moved back and forth a few times, so under my tennis court I have an entire storage and it has their homework, their Halloween costumes, everything. I am very sentimental — I’m a Pisces.”
2003: A Jeremy Scott show
PH: “I remember this day. I was at the Jeremy Scott fashion show and I was backstage getting ready to walk the runway, and that’s why I have the curler clips still in my hair, and I was interviewing people for ‘Entertainment Tonight.’ That was just an epic show. I love that I’m wearing the Von Dutch T-shirt. This was when ‘The Simple Life’ was coming out, so I was on camera a lot and on the scene. I knew it was something I was born to do.”
2003: Paris and Nicky still twinning
NH: “We loved to match. I blame that on my mom because she dressed us as twins and we just sort of continued it. I remember Paris that you are wearing my Diane von Furstenberg dress and that red striped dress I’m wearing I think I got at Forever 21.”
PH: “We should do another twin look soon – actually we just did one a few weeks ago. We were both wearing the matching Oscar dresses in the baby blue and baby pink for ‘This is Paris.’”
2003: MTV Video Music Awards
NH: “Oh this is fun. So our friend Joey Tierney was the stylist for Britney Spears. And she had this clothing line Joey & T and she made us these custom looks.”
PH: “I love her, I was actually just with her on DM a couple of weeks ago and she sent me all of these photos of shoots we used to do and backstage at fashion shows that Nicky and I used to walk in. And that was just so 2000s, all of her styles, with Swarovski crystals and bright colors and it was just such a fun brand.”
2004: A Brunette Nicky and Paris on the town
KH: “Nicky colors her hair and says ‘I’m out of this.’”
PH: “Is that at Kitson? I’m wearing a Nicky Hilton bag, and I remember that’s when Nicky dyed her hair dark and it was the first time in our lives that we didn’t look like twins.”
NH: “I sometimes toy with the idea of going back, but it’s so damaging (for the hair). And look at my little clear Manolo mules. I had those in every color and I wore them with everything.”
2004: NBA All-Star Weekend
PH: “Those bags are iconic. I just found a bunch of them at my house, I love them.”
NH: “People write me on social media all the time, petitioning to bring back the Samantha Thavasa 7 bag.”
PH: “I love that Tinkerbell is wearing the matching Lakers outfit.”
2005: Hitting the NYFW tents
NH: “That’s walking into the Luca Luca fashion show at Bryant Park. I love that top with the metallic Balenciaga [bag].”
PH: “I love that yellow on me. My old bodyguard in the background.”
2005: The Vanity Fair Oscars party
NH: “This dress was a last-minute dress. It was Roberto Cavalli. It’s almost like we are trading places at this event.”
PH: “And I was inspired by the Oscar statue. I keep certain pieces for my daughters one day, so those are in my storage unit. And I keep some pieces just because they’re iconic and I love them. And then a lot of stuff I donate either to charities or give them to my friends or my cousins.”
2006: The Heatherette show
PH: “Nicky and I always loved walking at the Heatherette shows. They were just so much fun. The fashion was insane.”
NH: “They don’t do fashion shows like this anymore. That was just the coolest, most wild, fun show. They always had the coolest cameos on the runway, really unexpected.
For 35 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2021 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.