Vogue hangs out with Olivia Palermo.
The term ‘style icon’ is a very nice compliment, says Olivia Palermo. But she doesn't let tags like that rule her life, instead, taking a very business-like and measured approach to consolidating one very successful style and tightly held fashion empire. “I just go about my work each day but each day I'm just busy thinking about my website and my clients,” Palermo said when we sat down with the style princess in Tokyo.
The ‘client’ she is particularly passionate about at the moment is Italian label Max & Co, the brand for whom she is currently twirling around the world, her ambassador hat firmly placed on her exquisitely natural face.
“I think it is a perfect fit for me as they are a very iconic brand,” she says. “There are a few clothes and brands that I incorporate into my everyday wardrobe and they have this kind of sporty chic effortless thing and playing off the prints and textures is something that I love doing and I tend to do most days.”
As far as the word style is concerned, for Palermo it is about incorporating colour, so says the 29-year-old woman opposite me dressed in the most exquisite soft camel coat and nails coated in a shade of light raspberry from her own beauty collection.
“Being a New Yorker I love black, of course. It’s amazing to incorporate in that splash of colour especially in accessories whether it is a shoe, a lip, about a bag or nails,” she adds.
“I think you can shape your whole outfit around an accessory, that may sound very simple, that’s how you really create your own sense of style.”
With 2.5 million Instagram followers – a snowball that started when she appeared on the TV series The City – life is now her hugely popular website, a beauty range and a legion of fashion fans who hang onto every fashion move she makes.
As far as social media is concerned Palermo admits she isn’t a die-hard fan. Sure, she uses it in order to get a message across, whether it’s for her website, a fashion label or a brand association, but she is no digi-addict in need of an intervention.
“I’m not the biggest social media fan in the world,” says Palermo. “We had a life before social media and we will continue to have a life after social media,” she laughs.
“You can have those big numbers on social media but I really don’t think they mean a lot. I don't think some of those numbers are incredibly accurate. I mean you look at some of those amazing Hollywood actresses and you know their numbers don’t necessarily match their talent, if that makes sense.
“So I don't really pay much attention to numbers. And it’s a matter of how much effort you put into it. I mean I don’t Instagram every day. I do it when I can and if I see inspiration that I like.
“But I have so much to do with every day work and a million emails to get back and so many other distractions and Instagram is not one of them.
“My team and I use social media to let our website followers know what’s going on and that’s fantastic. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great platforms for brands and particularly to get out a visual message.”
As for this whirlwind trip to Tokyo, Olivia says she has only been home 120 days this year. And that is pretty much a normal year.
“Luckily I love travel and the inspiration and experiences I have. When I’m not travelling I’m just a normal girl who hangs out at home with my husband and just does normal things.”
Olivia married her partner of eight years, German model Johannes Huebl last year in New York and admits she has been fortunate with paparazzi and hasn’t had many problems with private life invasion. “I’m really lucky,” she says. “They give me their space and hey, they have lots of other things to do!”
As for her passion for Japan, admitting Tokyo really is her favourite city in the world, she says she gets inspiration from Japanese street style every time she is here. “You guys teach me about fashion every time I come here,” she told a room full of Japanese fashion editors and bloggers who I observed after our one-on-one interview.
“By the way, I am totally blown away with this new store (a six-level flagship Max & Co store has just opened in Tokyo) and think the exterior and the theme is just incredible. It really represents Max & Co, who is an incredibly chic girl who loves rich fabrics and textures.”
Olivia admits there is no great secret to her success but just having a great but small team around her and a pure dedication to fashion. “Yeah, it’s fashion that is my real love and I’d like to take this site into more e-commerce, but don’t hold me to that! From the beginning when I worked in the office of Diane von Furstenberg I have been very conscious of brands and business so for me it’s a joy to go to work every day.”
Olivia sees longevity in her business life and with such a measured approach to fashion she will more than likely we get there. “I am hoping it is something that I still have to be doing when I’m 70!”
[By Melissa Hoyer] [Read More] [From Vogue.com.au] [Image From Vogue.com.au]