Nicole Miller on Wrapping Up Summer and Looking Ahead Into Fall
For Nicole Miller, Fall is on the mind. With New York Fashion Week just around the corner, we talked to one of our favorite East End-loving designers about how she adapts, on the fashion and Hamptons fronts.
What have you been up to this summer?
I’ve been doing my usual: waterskiing and wakeboarding once or twice a weekend. I’ve been working on my 360s. Other than that, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking.
Any new recipes to recommend?
I’ve been experimenting with Thai bouillabaisse. I always make a ton of pies, primarily rhubarb in the beginning of the season, and I switch to peach in August.
Have you considered writing a cookbook?
I had an outline for a book on entertaining. My dinner parties are very often like my fashion shows, [centering on] whatever exotic place I went to last. They’re internationally and culturally inspired.
Have you hosted much this summer?
I’ve been having lunches with my family and friends. I love hosting groups and very often we have friends over who have younger kids my son’s age, mingling the 20-year-olds with the grown-ups. I like to serve dishes with fresh corn and tomatoes, and we always get mozzarella at the Serene Green farm stand.
What parties have you attended this season?
I went to Super Saturday and the Parrish Art Museum event. I also went to LongHouse Reserve where The Brooklyn Peaches, a dance group, performed. They wore my Resort dresses, which was fun.
Lela Rose is a fellow designer who loves to entertain. Are you two pals?
We are friendly, and I like her a lot. She lives near me in Tribeca. We haven’t had each other over but we keep talking about it. One of these days we’ll get it together.
You’re a wine aficionado—what is your end-of-summer bev?
We always do a lot of rosé. My staple is Wölffer Vineyard, but I like Whispering Angel a lot, too.
Fall is just around the corner…tell us about your collection!
I dubbed it “gypsy grunge.” I always make my Pre-Fall and Fall collections relate, and I want Resort and Spring to somewhat relate, because to have totally different themes isn’t fluid. The Pre-Fall collection was set on St. Mark’s Place and nods to all of its characters. I ended up landing on this fortune-teller and psychic note, so Fall became an astrological and psychic theme. I used all of those different elements and symbols and gave it a street vibe. Pre-Fall is in stores now, and it’s been doing well. Fall is going to be a hit.
You hosted your Pre-Fall press event at a tattoo shop where editors could get piercings and tattoos. Do you have any?
I have two tattoos—one is a sun, moon, and clouds, and the other is a butterfly that I got in Hong Kong 30 years ago—and I got another ear piercing the day of the preview. I couldn’t believe how many people went for that stuff. It was crazy! There must have been 20 girls with tattoos and another 30 who got piercings. I thought it was going to be two or three.
After decades in the biz, do you still get butterflies before your fashion shows?
No, I never get butterflies. The only point that I get nervous is when the music starts. One time a model was walking down the runway and half of her blouse opened and her nipple was totally exposed. Another time a girl broke a heel and she just kept on going like the heel was still there—she didn’t miss a beat. And one time the music got stuck. There was once this model—she had such attitude—who chewed gum all the way up and down the runway. Can you imagine? After that, nobody in Europe wanted her. She must have been chewing gum everywhere! But it’s just little things that have gone wrong. We haven’t had anything horrible happen, like somebody falling.
Can you give us a hint as to what Spring ’18 will look like?
I like to do contrasts—I’m always very much uptown, downtown and good girl, bad girl. I’ve got another hard and soft contrast going on this year.
What’s your take on see-now, buy-now?
Not for me. It makes no sense. Everybody’s forgotten about it anyway, haven’t they? I think people were just doing it for press and now everybody’s back to normal.
Contestants from The Bachelor frequently attend your show. Are you a fan?
I know Andi Dorfman, but it’s a different kind of relationship. We’ve done a lot of things together over the years, like videos. Because of that, we’re more friendly. I never watch the show, but I had a girlfriend who was on The Bachelor, so I did watch that season. The guy was Jerry O’Connell’s brother, and my girlfriend was about the third to last. She said she really thought she was going to win! She thought he really liked her and that they had a great relationship and chemistry. He went for the school teacher from Texas. That was kind of strange.
Are there any TV shows coming up that you’re excited about?
I was hoping that they would do Pretty Little Liars again. That was pretty good. I liked The Night Manager. I tend to like things that don’t continue. There are so many shows that have had six seasons, and I’ll watch the first and the second, and the third I don’t watch at all. I like when it’s one season of six to eight episodes.
What else is new these days?
We’re expanding our menswear, and some of our licenses are developing. We have this line of shirts, and it’s under NMAN. It’s really cute, and I’m going to expand that. We have a lot of men’s accessories too.
Which guys inspire those designs?
Between my son and husband, that’s enough. They are very particular. My son used to be a surfer boy and now he is more “mister preppy.” It’s very specific. We were going to lunch yesterday and he was putting on this polo shirt and I was like, “That’s wrinkly, you’re not wearing that.” He put on a chambray and rolled up his sleeves. He looked good.