Fashion designer Nicole Miller talks about reviving her skincare brand. (Photo: Getty Images)
Nicole Miller is an American fashion designer who is known for designing dresses in vibrant, bold colors. However her colorful take on fashion is in complete opposition to her wardrobe growing up. Way before opening her first store on Madison Avenue in New York City in 1986, Miller’s mother’s Parisian background influenced the designer’s fashion choices. “When we were little, she would dress us very French,” recalls Miller. “I had a little grey pleated skirt and a little grey jacket, and gloves! Oh my god. The gloves.”
Along with the neutral wardrobe, Miller also had a strict hairstyle. “She would braid my hair so tight! It was kind of painful,” recalls Miller.
While, Miller went a more colorful route with fashion, the French take on beauty stuck with her. “I have many French friends – including my mother – who never wear makeup. My mother would wear bright red lipstick and maybe a little bit of powder – that was it.” Miller’s mom personified the effortless, yet totally chic take on beauty that the French are known for and it inspired the designer. Although, she admits to going through some bolder beauty phases in the 80s. There was a time where I only wore dark purple lipstick,” she says. “In, like, the 80s! It was really popular.” Fast forward to years later: these days, she doesn’t leave the house without mascara and she focuses heavily on skincare. She’s adamant about scrubbing her face with a washcloth each night. “I use tons of moisturizer,” says Miller, noting Charlotte Tilbury and Clinique’s products are her favorites. There is one brand, however, she would like to make its way back to shelves, her own. “We had a skincare line for a while – a couple of years ago. The packaging was really cool,” says Miller of her products, which included a serum and a cleanser. “We have some items that are around in limited distribution. I wouldn’t mind getting back into that at some point.”
For now, Miller’s focus is fashion and launch of her fall denim campaign #NMWithDenim. When she’s designing, her inspiration comes from a myriad of places – but most importantly, being open-minded. “I always say, ‘never say never.’ I don’t like to get into ruts.” She avoids repetition by breaking molds. “When you’ve been designing a long time like I have, you can get stuck in patterns over and over.” To fight recurrences, she travels and visits art galleries – however cliché it may be. “The world in the end doesn’t seem that big! We’re always going to some exotic country or traveling,” she says of designer like herself. “People in the street are great sources of inspiration,” adding that she appreciates inspiration that is comes by chance. “I can see some random thing that isn’t clothing at all, and it sends me in a direction.”
Once inspiration takes hold, the pieces are constructed, and the clothes are complete, celebrities like Beyonce, Eva Longoria, Heather Graham, and Sheryl Crow are scooping up her stuff. Though she doesn’t concentrate on it that much, Miller has – in the past – made a wish list of famous faces she hoped would wear her garments. Luckily, her dreams came true. “At one point I wanted to dress Angelina Jolie and Joss Stone. That year, I dressed them both!“ She laughs, "I think I willed it to happen.”