It’s been 15 years since Nicole Richie attended a runway show at New York Fashion Week, and while her actual, physical self isn’t exactly present this season, her brand House of Harlow 1960 made its debut on Thursday, Sept. 9 with a special Fall 2021 presentation in collaboration with Revolve. The retailer is hosting a multi-day, open-to-the-public Revolve Gallery, which showcases a slew of exclusive collections from brands like Dundas, Set Active, and more until Sept. 11.
“I think that [Revolve] really [knows] how to speak to millennials and Gen Z,” Richie told NYLON ahead of the space’s official opening over a Zoom call. “I love the idea of having a presentation be a true experience. I think that's what people are wanting right now.” When it comes to House of Harlow’s milestones, Revolve happens to be involved, too. After originally launching in 2008 as a jewelry business, Richie partnered with the company to expand into ready-to-wear 18 months later. Now, more than a decade has passed, and House of Harlow’s showing at NYFW for the first time seems like a full-circle moment.
During our chat, Richie sat in front of what was a recreation of what to expect in New York. The woodsy setting made every House of Harlow ensemble — in its bright and rich color palette of deep golden yellows, rusty hues, and olive green — pop against the background.
“The collection as a whole is really inspired by ‘70s Hollywood glamour,” explains Richie. “I wanted to combine that with my appreciation for nature, which is something that also has just been such a big inspiration to me, especially over the past year and a half in this pandemic. We have to value our connection with nature.”
If cottagecore was a thing back in the ‘70s, then House of Harlow’s fall collection would be a boho take on the ideal wardrobe to live your best bucolic life. “Oh, I have heard of cottagecore,” quipped Richie when asked about the popular aesthetic. “I have a 13-and-a-half-year-old daughter, so I'm very familiar with cottagecore. It’s a real vibe.”
So what’s House of Harlow’s “nap dress”? Meet the Badia, a satin midi style covered in paisley prints and fringe trim. The halter neckline is also connected to a scarf that drapes in the front. “It’s all one piece. This is actually one of my favorite dresses. I just wore mine the other night,” recalled Richie. “I am obsessed.” Other favorites include a three-piece corduroy set, headscarves, and a House of Harlow choker, which is part of the brand bringing back its jewelry line.
“I think that nature just brings so many different layers of textures and feelings, and that's something that we also did within the collection,” said Richie. “With a lot of vintage-inspired silk prints, which is what we've done in the past, and then also combining that with beautiful, novelty knits, corduroys, and velvets.”
Ahead, Richie spoke with NYLON about her memories of NYFW, going back to House of Harlow’s jewelry roots, running a fashion business for the past 13 years, and her thoughts on the early aughts style renaissance. Read on for more.
With House of Harlow debuting at NYFW, do you have any early memories of attending fashion week?
I just remember it was a lot. I was going to so many different shows and that was the time when I was running into friends. No matter what was on your schedule, everything would change because there was always some surprise after-party or an extra dinner. We were out all night, up super early. It was just so much fun. As the years went on, I started going to less shows and really picking which ones I actually wanted to see, but it was so exciting.
The Fall 2021 collection is bringing jewelry back to the brand. What’s the story behind reintroducing it again?
The brand started with me doing costume jewelry, and I had put a pause on it when the world changed and the market changed and I was figuring out where I wanted the jewelry to sit and what I wanted it to mean. Once we started really diving into our own website — combined with people reentering the world — I was just really excited to bring costume jewelry back.
Then as far as fine [jewelry], I've been doing fine on a very small scale with crystals. That's something that I've been doing myself because I source them and I charge them with the full moon and I sage them. So it's really just been this labor of love, but what's been so amazing is, over the course of two years, I've been able to really work in fine and figure out what I wanted to say when I decided to have a full collection with it. So now is the time, and I'm so excited about it.
Are there any jewelry pieces that you really love?
I'm very excited about my hoops that I've been working on for a very long time. I love hoops and they are the perfect weight. Everything was originally handmade and then reproduced, so you are really getting that handmade feel.
Then this necklace [that I have on] is actually part of my Honeycomb Collection, which is inspired by my love for the bees. I have bees, I harvest my own honey, and it's really important to show them love. Without bees we can't be here. Proceeds from the sale of the Honeycomb Collection are going back to the Los Angeles Beekeepers Association. It's just very close to my heart, so I'm really pumped for it.
You've been running House of Harlow since 2008. What advice can you give to someone who's looking to start in the fashion industry?
I would say just start. There are things that cannot be taught; you just have to experience them. Some things just take time and it's getting to know yourself and really understanding yourself and understanding your eye. What I love so much about having this brand for so long is that you learn a lot about yourself when you are coming from a creative place, because there are things that I have not been open to in the past that I am obsessed with now and vice versa.
Designing and creating is really emotional. It does come from a place of feeling. I think it's cool to look back on past collections and I'm able to kind of tap into what emotional state I was in at that time and what I was gravitating towards.
The brand consistently taps into fashion nostalgia from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. Right now, a lot of early 2000s trends are making a comeback. Your style was such a huge influence during that era, how has it been witnessing Y2K fashion’s return?
It's been very interesting seeing it come back because, for me, I think it's a version of it that I don't necessarily recognize. To me, it just feels like its own thing. I don't love it or hate it per se. I wouldn't say that it's 100 percent accurate of what the actual 2000s was. I do think that we're doing some cherry-picking of just the best of the best. I'm sure someone would say that's been around in the '70s about a brand like mine, that is like, "I love the '70s." But I appreciate all of it and it's fun — and funny — to see.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.