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Buro 24/7 Interview: 10 minutes with Nicole Richie

Last night 33-year-old Nicole Richie touched down in the UAE for the first time – as part of a collaborative event and pop-up shop with the Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF)

Earlier today, Buro 24/7 met up with Nicole Richie to interview the TV star and designer, who is enjoying her first visit to Dubai. In collaboration with DSF, which will see Richie host a pop-up shop at The Beach, JBR – for a limited time – with her House of Harlow 1960 ready-to-wear and accessories available for purchase at the make-shift boutique.

Buro 24/7 Middle East spent ten minutes with the star and mother of two this morning, discussing her love for design, fashion and some heart-warming anecdotes about her father – iconic singer Lionel Richie.

Tell us how you got started in fashion design?

I was a figure skater growing up and my father’s costume designer – who made all of his tour costumes – was making my figure skating competition dresses. I was ten-years-old and she really encouraged me to come into her studio with her. I had all these ideas – and this was right around the time that Vera Wang designed Nancy Kerrigan’s Olympic dress – and I had a specific vision of the dress I wanted and she encouraged me to watch her work. This helped me to really understand what it takes to make things and it was something that I just really loved. From there I started creating things and I would just go to fabric stores and I started to make my own jewellery. I was making chokers at that time because it was the 90’s and there I was gluing charms onto velvet straps. Just the idea of being able to make something spoke to me and I realised that was my way of being creative and having fun and that was my first step into knowing what I wanted to do – and I just knew it was something I wanted to do.

Who is your style icon?

Well you know when I think of the words ‘style icon’ I think that is someone who played a huge influence in why I even love fashion, so that would be my mother. In the 80s she was a ‘woman about town’ – she was everywhere with my father and travelling with him, and I remember sitting in her bathroom sitting and in her dressing room and watching her get her hair and makeup done and she had all the vintage Chanel bags and these great Alaia pieces. I remember just looking at her and thinking: “She looks so beautiful and I can’t wait until I can dress up.” And you know we have very different styles – she is much more of a lady than I am – but she was like my first vision of this woman that was working with fashion and someone that I wanted to be like.

Do you think your daughter Harlow is like that with you now?

I mean she likes clothes, she likes clothes like any other seven-year-old likes clothes you know? I haven’t heard her talk about design or anything – not yet…

How has being a mother changed your approach to your career?

I mean it affects how I am working because I want to be home with my family. I am also always talking to mums at school who aren’t even in this field, just working mums, and it is a very common discussion of how to manage time – I think we are all trying to figure it out on some level.

How do you approach design, do you have someone specific in mind or do you use mood boards. How do you work?

I do mood boards, you know I try and design really for ‘all women’ but you House of Harlow really throws out the idea of ‘trends’. This is a brand for people who want to have fun and who want to express themselves through fashion and use clothes as a way to feel more confident and to be free and have fun and be happy.

You are such a fun person, and you clearly get a kick out of making people laugh. Who is the funnest person you know?

My Dad is quite fun – I think my Dad is such a jokester.

You only just landed, but what are your first impressions of Dubai and Middle Eastern women?

I love it so far. There is so much to see and I am excited about exploring the city. The women are so creative, I mean it is 11am in the morning and I’ve already seen so many outfits, I’ve seen striped leggings, I’ve seen leather pants with zippers, you can really tell that people are so creative here and are not afraid to express themselves through fashion, which is incredibly inspiring – especially to me.

Who are your favourite designers?

Ossie Clark is one of my favourites, and Zandra Rhodes – these are both incredible brands and I have loved them for a while. I am a huge vintage shopper as well, so with brands I love from the 60s, 70s and with House of Harlow, we try and bring that feeling back to fashion now.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Be kind to everybody, be grateful, say thank you everyday. My parents taught me well.

Who is your biggest role model in business?

Well I would say my parents, my father is someone who I talk to all the time as far as working, and we are both parents and we are both in the same kind of industry and he is definitely the person I talk to the most… So I would say him.

Jan 29, 2015 – Buro 24/7