It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single girl in possession of a credit card must be in want of Nicole Richie’s style. The California native might be the closest thing America has to Alexa Chung—at least if you go by the seemingly millions of Richie-inspired outfits posted daily on Facebook and Instagram. Richie helps them along with Winter Kate, her clothing line, and House of Harlow 1960, her jewelry collection—which just happens to have a new campaign launching right now. We spoke to the designer (who has paired up with Macy’s and QVC) about her favorite bands, wearing easy braids, and why pets want to be famous.
Your line has usually taken visual cues from the ’60s. Why were you feeling a ’70s vibe for fall?
Because my line is called House of Harlow 1960, people assume it’s literal. What I mean when I talk about “The ’60s” is a vibe that definitely extended into the ’70s as well. It’s about freedom and labels not really being part of your wardrobe. It’s about layering lots and lots of jewelry, and having everything transition from day to night. It’s really about that free-spirited energy and excitement that you can see in those periods, not a definite or defined year.
Was there a certain music or pop culture trigger for this particular collection?
A lot of great music from the ’60s and ’70s always inspires me, but besides all the classic stuff, I’ve been listening to a lot of Avenged Sevenfold.
Do they have a classic rock sound?
Avenged Sevenfold is actually a metal band, believe it or not… Joel [Madden, Richie’s husband] introduced me to them, and I play them all the time. Oh, you know who else is really good? Passenger. They’re like folk rock. They’re so good.
Do you remember the first piece of jewelry you ever designed?
I do, actually. I grew up in Los Angeles, and I used to buy these pieces of velvet and these charms, like little silver elephant charms and little charms with an Indian vibe. I would make chokers out of them with superglue. It cost about $10 to make one necklace, and I would charge $10 for them, so my parents had to intervene and say, “You know, Nicole, you really need to work on your business plan before you keep doing this.”
How old were you?
I was 10. [Laughs] So I guess I had some time to figure all that out!
Your dog Iro co-stars in the upcoming House of Harlow 1960 campaign. How long have you had him?
About a year. At first, it was Joel’s thing. He did all the research. He was very specific about the kind of German Shepherd he wanted, and he was really involved and really excited about getting a dog, but now I’m his primary caretaker! He’s my dog for sure!
How did you know he’d sit still during a photo shoot?
Oh, because he’s a fame whore and he lives for the camera. [Laughs] What can I say, some men need attention, and need to be adored! And Iro is one of them!
You know what’s great about House of Harlow? Your rings come in really small sizes.
Thank you! I had to make them that way, because my fingers are so small. So we always make a wide range of sizes, and I’m always surprised that it’s not a standard thing. I know I’m not the only one with small fingers.
What’s the most complicated hairstyle you can do on yourself?
I am the best braider in the world. I can braid anyone’s hair, I can braid my own hair, and I can do all kinds of complicated and intricate braids. I’m a master of the braid.
What about makeup? You always have amazing black eyeliner that never seems to smudge?
That I can’t tell you about. I’m not that kind of “lady” who always leaves the house with makeup. In fact, the only time I wear makeup is when I’m working. So I have no idea how my eyeliner stays on. All I know is that I have really talented makeup artists.
Is there an overused word you’d like to retire?
Sep 13, 2013 – Elle – Written by Faran Krentcil