Post Fashion Week, one would imagine most designers would take some time off, get a little R&R, put their feet up, and pat themselves on the back for another collection well done. Nicole Miller is not that designer. With her Fall 2012 collection still fresh in our minds, Ms. Miller launches Artelier, a casual collection of separates guaranteed to become your chic weekend wardrobe staples (seriously, how adorable are those drawstring chevron shorts?).
As if that weren’t enough, she’s also opening a new store in Brazil and continues to support the garment district with the passion only a tried-and-true New Yorker can evoke. Here, a glimpse into the life of a woman I suspect has found a way to achieve a 30-hour workday.
Julie Bensman: What was the impetus to launch Artelier?
Nicole Miller: When I was deciding to launch sportswear, I couldn’t really make it an extension of my collection because I’m too associated with eveningwear. Of course, we’ve always done separates, but for this, we needed a different look, different fabrications, and the ability to be its own entity.
JB: Why is it so important for you to continue producing collections in New York’s fashion district?
NM: It’s interesting because everyone talks about how we need more jobs in the United States and I’m trying to do that, it’s very important to me. So many collections are produced entirely overseas, whereas at least 60% of my collections are produced right here. It’s also nice to not have to plan so far in advance: if there’s a fit or fabric issue, I can take care of it right away.
JB: You’re also planning to open a new store in Brazil, yes?
NM: Yes! Brazil has always been a huge market for us because the women really like to dress up there. We’ve had a lot of success selling our clothes up until now. We had a Brazilian store manager in our SoHo store who wanted to move back home and the opportunity just presented itself.
JB: How do you define the Nicole Miller signature look?
NM: I want to make women feel confident, comfortable, attractive, and thin. One of my strong points is making body-conscious clothes. Dressing is a psychological thing; I want to give women that feeling of excitement.
JB: You just showed your Fall 2012 collection at New York Fashion Week. Talk to me about what inspired the looks you sent down the runway.
NM: It was a really, really fun collection to do. Being a New Yorker, I do wear a lot of black but I’ve been in the mood for color lately: magentas, purples, dark greens…
JB: What's the best piece of fashion advice you've ever received?
NM: I was doing a presentation once with Michael Kors and he was telling everyone to spend the extra bucks to tailor clothes properly, which is so true. If you buy something that needs to be shortened or taken in, spend the money and do it! That, and never leave the house without looking in the rearview mirror – that goes for your hair, too!