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Something
like
Olivia
What is it like inside Olivia Palermo’s impossibly glamorous life?
Emma Chong Johnston finds out. St...
Top, Dior. Skirt, Max Mara.
Clutch, Kate Spade. Earrings
and bracelet, Jennifer Fisher.
ELLE. MY 35
COVER STAR
O
livia Pal...
Dress, Jenny Packham.
Earrings, Lauren Chisholm.
Ring, Shahla Karimi.
Top, DKNY. Ear cuff,
Carat London
“I think it’s real...
Dress, Patbo. Shirt (worn underneath),
3.1 Phillip Lim at intermixonline.com.
Earrings, Jennifer Fisher. Ring,
Carat Londo...
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  1. 1. Something like Olivia What is it like inside Olivia Palermo’s impossibly glamorous life? Emma Chong Johnston finds out. Styling by Jennifer Michalski-Bray. Photography by Carla Guler Top, Milly. Skirt, David Koma. Skirt (worn underneath), DKNY. Cuff, Plukka.
  2. 2. Top, Dior. Skirt, Max Mara. Clutch, Kate Spade. Earrings and bracelet, Jennifer Fisher. ELLE. MY 35 COVER STAR O livia Palermo is a consummate 21st-century celebrity. She first entered our lives in 2008 via MTV’s scripted reality television series, The City. Cast as the cold brunette foil to Whitney Port’s naive blonde heroine, Olivia’s patrician poise and affection for eye-rolls and scathing remarks made her sensational TV bait. She quickly eclipsed the faltering Whitney, and through the power of her razor-sharp style and some inspired editing, became the show’s standout star, entrancing and alienating viewers at every turn. But 2008 was virtually a lifetime ago in television years, and in the time since then the world has gotten to know the woman behind the character. And we like her. Sure, she is opinionated and likes things done a certain way, but she’s also warm, whipsmart and most definitely in possession of a sense of humour. And now Olivia is no longer interested in courting television cameras. These days she rules the street style pages, frequently tops best-dressed lists and has made her personal brand a tightly edited, formidably stylish one. The cameras love her and so do we, and yet she always manages to feel just a little beyond our reach – which only makes us clamour more. The result? Olivia Palermo is now a very, very busy woman, bouncing between New York and Europe and the USA’s East and West coasts as frequently as the rest of us might pop out to the shops. When we finally catch up with her for a Transatlantic chat just before the Christmas rush, she sounds ever so slightly frazzled. “Every day is a busy day!” she says breathlessly. “But everything is very structured. New York is home, but I’m really only there 150, 160 days a year – the rest of the time I’m on the road. If I’m in New York, my day starts on the phone with Europe, and then I spend the day focusing on OliviaPalermo.com, and I have photo shoots, meetings, I’m on the phone with my team – I’m on the phone all the time!” Why so many meetings, you may ask? If you know her, as 2.9 million people do, through the glossy photos on her Instagram feed, you may think that all Olivia does is take absurdly beautiful couple photos with her model husband, Johannes Huebl and holiday with Valentino duo Giancarlo Giammetti and Valentino Garavani. But you’d be mistaken. “We’re launching a collection with Nordstrom, I’ll be designing a collection for Chelsea28 “These days, Olivia rules the street style pages, tops the best-dressed lists and has made her personal brand a formidably stylish one.” [Nordstrom’s house brand],” Olivia starts, taking a breath. “Then there’s the new collection with Westward Leaning, in rose gold, one of my favourite colours. We just shot Max and Co’s new campaign for spring – I work with them as a brand ambassador and I love them dearly – and we’re also coming up with a new collection for Bauble Bar. And working with Ciaté.” That’s five brands who’ve made it to the top of the pile for a chance to work with Olivia – no mean feat, as she is constantly in demand for collaborations and projects. Clever marketers know that her name carries one of the highest sales conversion rates possible for a celebrity. In 2014 she designed a shoe collection with Aquazzura which sold out in a snap; her sunglasses for Westward Leaning are some of the most popular on the site. She’s been a creative director at Ciaté since 2015, starting out by adding her stamp on the brand’s signature nail polishes and then extending her reach into colour cosmetics. “The beauty industry was definitely something a little different for me,” Olivia admits. coming from her fashion-saturated world. “But at the same time, accessories are my go-to for creating a look and makeup is very similar. You can really tell a story through the makeup.” And tell a story she did, with custom shades and beautiful, luxe packaging. “It’s been fantastic working with Ciaté. I like combining different eye shadows, different blushes to find our favourite formula. And you know, I’m so proud of the product; every time I see girls wearing it, it makes me smile.” Need tips on how to wear the Ciaté collections? They’re all on OliviaPalermo.com – as well as runway reviews, shopping and fitness recommendations and all the details on all her brand collaborations. What started as a catalogue of outfits is now a full-blown lifestyle website complete with editorial team. But the core is still indisputably Olivia – Olivia’s style, Olivia’s taste.
  3. 3. Dress, Jenny Packham. Earrings, Lauren Chisholm. Ring, Shahla Karimi. Top, DKNY. Ear cuff, Carat London “I think it’s really important to play off different patterns, fabrics and textures.”
  4. 4. Dress, Patbo. Shirt (worn underneath), 3.1 Phillip Lim at intermixonline.com. Earrings, Jennifer Fisher. Ring, Carat London. HAIR Lacy Redway using Bumble and Bumble at The Wall Group MAKEUP Daniel Martin for Dior Beauty MANICURE M Plaza Tribeca STYLING ASSISTANT Theodora Chytoudi PHOTOGRAPHY ASSISTANT Matt Richards RETOUCHING Ashlee Gray LOCATION Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC ELLE. MY 39 COVER STAR Because that’s the real reason we’re all here – the woman is a genius with style. Have you seen her wearing double denim? Or mustard yellow, forest green and navy in one shot? Or floor-length sequins paired with a centre parting and an Alice band (who even wears Alice bands any more? Olivia Palermo, and she’ll make you want to wear them too). Olivia’s every look, whether red carpet or off-duty (although it’s hard to imagine she’s ever off-duty) is an artfully composed masterpiece. Remember, she wore a sweater for her wedding, albeit a cashmere Carolina Herrera one. And no, there is no stylist involved. “I think for myself it’s really important to play off different patterns and fabrics and textures,” Olivia tells us, struggling to put the alchemy of her fashion into words. “I think that it’s classic, it’s colourful, there’s always a bit of a tailored element. You can have a Zara dress and pair it with a Dior piece. And as you get older, you learn what works best for your body type.” What works best for Olivia is colour, and lots of it. She’s forever disproving the theory that New Yorkers only wear black; Olivia needs colour every day. When it comes to work, it’s really important to love what you do. If you don’t, try new things until you find what you love. When you get dressed, incorporate a little pop of colour, because it makes you happy and changes your mood. When travelling, use Ziploc bags for everything: toiletries, even jewellery, so you can see everything easily. OLIVIA’S TOP TIPS ADVICE FOR BUSY WOMEN ON THE GO “I always celebrate Valentine’s Day on an airplane, flying to London for the fashion week. But for Johannes and I, every day is Valentine’s Day. A perfect date doesn’t necessarily have to be going out to dinner; it can really just be being at home and enjoying each other’s company. Sometimes we get so busy with work and it’s nice to just be able to unwind at home and watch movies and hang out. Sorry, I know you were hoping for something more exciting!” Olivia’s perfect Valentine’s Day And a lot of it is supplied through runway and archival Valentino pieces. On set she gravitated towards the Valentino pieces, and it’s easy to see why: with their rich depth of colour, detail and complexity, they mirror Olivia’s sartorial thinking. “My favourite fashion moments have been… probably a lot of Valentino dresses! I think they are just really beautiful,” Olivia says. Her friendship with founder of the house Valentino Garavani is well-documented, through envy-inducing holiday selfies and many a red carpet photo, though she shies away from speaking about him, with only a giggling, “He’s wonderful!” in reply to questions about their friendship. “I always say this, but I think it’s true. A great moment was Valentino’s 45th anniversary, which was an incredible event. The clothes were incredible.” Olivia wore a floor-length ivory tulle gown, cinched at the waist with a bejewelled black ribbon, and is beaming in every photo. A jetsetting lifestyle, a handsome husband who shoots her #ootds, a wardrobe full of Valentino and top brands clamouring to work with her. What more could Olivia Palermo possibly need? “Honestly? I miss my dog. And my weekly manicure!”  > > >

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