If you’re into fashion, then Nicole Miller is old news to you. Literally a fashion veteran, Miller’s designs can be found around the world, but to the average consumer, I’d dare to guess that they don’t know who she is. Even myself, who is a casual fan, didn’t know much about her. Often we know designers solely through their work, but who the person is, always hugely influences their work. For Miller, New York and her Parisian roots are those touchstones in her career that has defined her.
Nicole Miller was born in Fort Worth in 1952 to an engineer father, but grew up in Lenox, Massachusetts. Miller cites both her parents as being early influences on her style; her father’s engineering discipline gave her an analytic viewpoint to figuring out a how garment works, while her Parisian mother endowed her with European flair. Miller pursed her early passion for fashion by studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. After school, she began interning for dressmaker Clovis Ruffin and opened her first boutique in NYC in 1986.
Since her humble beginnings starting her own line with just $100,000, Miller has expanded into being sold in over 1000 boutiques across the world selling everything from womens-wear to children’s clothing, accessories, and even home furnishings!
When one thinks of Nicole Miller, the words classic, womanly, and always appropriate come to mind, but Miller herself is no prissy lady. Although she may not be doing cartwheels, or having questionably sane relationships with felines, Miller is quite fond of breaking barriers. Back in the era of supermodels, Miller was the first to send actresses down the runway, like Minnie Driver and Jenny McCarthy, She was also one of the pioneers of the designer collabo trend when she paired up with JC Penney to design an affordable line.
Despite all her success though, Miller is still human. More known for being sexy and elegant, rather than trendy, or edgy, Miller knew she had to reinvigorate her brand to stay relevant. For 2013, Miller continues her recent reinvention by veering away from classic New York style to the warmer, sexier climes of Brazil, where she has opened a new boutique. Her S/S 2013 and Resort 2013 collections are filled with tribal prints, bright exotic flowers and lots and lots of tanned skinny leg. Don’t think she’s totally forgotten where she’s from though; there is still lots of black to choose from and every piece has that characteristic attention to the feminine form that Miller is renowned for. It’s an easy transition to go from body-conscious metropolis style to beach ready party dresses for Miller, who has always proclaimed herself a free spirit at heart . In her own words, Miller’s goal is “to make women feel confident, comfortable, attractive, and thin… Dressing is a psychological thing; I want to give women that feeling of excitement.”