I know a lot of people might claim this, but I can promise you, no one was as excited to meet Olivia Palermo as I was. I am, unabashedly, her No. 1 biggest fan — everyone in my office can attest to the veracity of this.
On Sept. 8, the fashion It girl and former Splash cover star made a special appearance at Nordstrom (55 E. Grand) to show off her latest line for Chelsea28, presenting tweed blazers and trousers open-shoulder knits and her signature silk blouses.
When we met in a backstage room at the men’s department, Palermo was all smiles, sporting a tie-neck peplum silk top and suspender pants from her line. We gushed about our favorite peach Zara coat (which we both own — who are we kidding, I bought it because she bought it) and she grimaced when I jokingly brought up yesterday’s Yeezy show. All in all, as a global style star, Palermo is refreshingly sweet and humble.
Here, we talk about her inspiration for the collection, and who she’s most looking forward to seeing at New York Fashion Week.
SPLASH: This is now your third collection for the brand. What inspired you this time?
OLIVIA PALERMO: The whole year is about focusing on key pieces that you can incorporate into your wardrobe. Every woman needs a great suit. I love menswear! I’m always inspired by it and there’s always some sort of tone in the way I dress to add that. For the fall, we added great tweed, a sailor feel, cropped pants. You can dress it up, dress it down. You can wear it all the time.
S: What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
OP: Probably the [high rise crop suspender pants, $149]. You can wear them with a pair of flats, sneakers, heels; they’re really versatile. They remind me of a little French girl in Paris. I always love on a men’s trouser or in a tuxedo how sometimes [there is a] beautiful detail on a custom pant, so that was the inspiration for that.
S: Fall is arguably the biggest season for fashion. Which trends do you have your eye on this year?
OP: I love a great statement coat. You can never have too many coats.
S: I heard you’re flying back to New York tonight, and I’m sure you’re gearing up for Fashion Week. For those who haven’t been, what’s the experience like?
OP: Throughout the years it’s changed a lot. Currently everything is online and fashion has been bigger than ever. We used to have it in one spot, either in Lincoln Center or Bryant Park. Now it’s spread all over the city in different venues and I think it’s great. It gives different young designers [the opportunity] to find their own space and you can really feel what they’re feeling in that collection. It’s better than one big tent — it gives it more of a personality. I’m all for having the shows offsite.
S: When choosing the shows to go to, do you stay loyal to certain brands or do you like to see different designers each year?
OP: We’re always open to new designers or designers who we’ve seen evolve. Then we have more of the bigger shows such as Michael Kors, Marchesa. Those are really important because they definitely set the trends.
S: These days, it seems like people go to runway shows to look at the models — who have become celebrities themselves — as much as they do the clothes. Are there any models you’d love to see this year?
OP: No. What I love most is a young girl with a fresh face that is just starting out. She might be a season or two in and you can see the glow, happiness and excitement — you can see she appreciates it and isn’t used to it. I also think Fashion Week should really focus on the designers. They’ve put in a lot of time and effort. You can take a picture at the end of the show, but the hair and makeup, production and styling and all the assistants and everyone who handles the show for weeks, it’s so important to give them a clap and acknowledge them.