It wasn’t long ago that sustainable fashion conjured up images of hemp and patchwork, a singular, one-size-fits-all aesthetic to an entire fashion ecosystem. That’s changing, though, as brands across categories ramp up their efforts to lower their collective climate impact, finding new and unexpected sustainable materials to create pieces that look just as chic as their higher-impact predecessors.
Such is the case for Nicky Hilton, whose spring ’22 collection with French Sole comes with two new styles that that are made with 100% recycled and animal-free materials.
“I think people often associate vegan and eco-friendly designs as hippie-dippy, but they can really be beautiful and amazing and it’s a bonus that they’re also not harming the environment,” Hilton told FN ahead of the collection’s release this week, available for pre-order today.
The two new styles are a tasseled loafer in a 100% recycled polyester animal print with a suede-like finish (named the Stacey, after Hilton’s friend Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia: “someone who I look up to and adore,” noted Hilton) and then a recycled cotton, thermoplastic and vegan glitter encrusted ballerina with a grosgrain bow (named the Theodora after Hilton’s younger daughter, “because she’s a girly girl. She loves sparkles and glitter”).
“When I first looked into [sustainable materials] a couple of years ago, there were not as many options as there are today. It’s just so amazing how far the world has come with different fashionable, sustainable materials,” she said. “I had a lot of fun finding [details like] glitter, which is all recycled.”
The designer first introduced eco-friendly materials to her footwear line (and ongoing partnership with French Sole) last year for spring ’21. This time around, Hilton also carried over four styles for spring ’22, including the bestselling, 100% sustainable Kathy slipper, named after her mother, Kathy Hilton. “I thought it was important to carry over the styles personally because I love them. And you don’t always have to make something new,” Hilton pointed out. “I like the concept of reusing and just enjoying what we have in our closet.”
Hilton’s ballerinas and loafers are coming especially in handy now, as she is pregnant with her third child. The designer said she is pairing the flats with a uniform of maternity jeans (she likes L’Agence) and cozy, oversized sweaters (such as La Ligne’s cashmere styles).
But she’s also dressing up, attending black tie events such as the Save Venice ball in NYC over the weekend, and the Vanity Fair Oscars party last month. “Comfort really is key even when you’re dressing up. Oscar de la Renta made me a custom dress for the party and the first thing I said was, ‘I need it to be comfortable and stretchy.’ And it was — it fit like a glove,” she said of her black strapless gown, which featured an oversized bow on the train and matching black gloves and satin pumps.
Hilton took the same approach for her duties on the red carpet, when she co-hosted ABC’s “On the Red Carpet at the Oscars” show ahead of the awards, wearing a sequined and feather-embellished pink Jenny Packham gown.
What viewers couldn’t see, though, was the ultimate expression of comfort: “I was actually wearing Ugg slippers with my gown because they only shot us from the waist up. That was a live show for four hours. Two hours of rehearsal. I could not be in heels for that long!” (Hilton slipped on a pair of Mach & Mach heels for her own red carpet photos.)
Key styles from the Nicky Hilton x French Sole spring ’22 collection are available for pre-order today.