Olivia Palermo will visit Dubai this week to unveil her debut Banana Republic collection and talk all things style with team Vogue. Fans can get a view of the new collection launching on September 14, and the first 50 shoppers of the collection at the Banana Republic flagship store in the Dubai Mall will get to personally meet Palermo when she visits the store that evening from 8pm.
A regular on the front row at international fashion weeks, Olivia Palermo’s wardrobe choices have made her the perfect model for street-style photographers. However, the immaculate dresser won’t be showcasing her own runway anytime collection soon. “I’ve no plans just yet, but thanks for asking,” she says politely.
Of course, this wouldn’t be too much of a career leap for Palermo, who has already collaborated with big name fashion brands including Aquazzura, Piaget, and Aspinal of London. Her most recent partnership with Banana Republic took her away from her ambassador’s role and made her part of the design team – and it brings her to Dubai this month to promote the collection.
“Our relationship started in September last year with me being the brand ambassador, working with Banana Republic’s online edits and giving overall feedback on the styling and the campaign,” explains Palermo. “But with my collection it was really kind of taking the brand’s heritage and aesthetic and elevating it. I was involved in everything from model casting to the visuals.”
Even with this hands-on approach, Palermo is still hardpressed to choose her favorite pieces from the collection, which hits stores this month. “I just have so many,” she says. “But we have some great statement coats and trenches as well as a pair of really pretty green leather pants, and some faux snakeskin pieces.”
Initially thrust into the sartorial spotlight after her appearance on US reality TV show The City, Palermo’s unique sense of style and strong business nous have seen her not only build a strong fan following, thanks to her eponymous website, but also create a powerful personal brand. The success of the latter has seen the star become popular with fashion and beauty designers, all eager to not only take her advice but to also partner with her to create a sell-out collection – people listen when she says what looks good and what doesn’t.
“It’s not so much about what something costs,” says Palermo, who offers her key style rules. “I think today women love mixing and matching more than ever. It’s more about looking at the fabric, the colors, and the quality. Sometimes it’s fun to play around with texture and fabric.” And it’s not always about wearing designer goods, she adds. “I think it works to combine high-end with high street pieces – that’s my philosophy. It doesn’t matter how expensive something is – if it’s great, it’s great. I personally love mixing between the two. Who doesn’t?”
While Palermo tops many celebrity best-dressed lists, when it comes to her own style icons she admits to being influenced by her surroundings her and one very special lady in particular. “I’m inspired by stylish women I see on the streets and on my travels,” she says. “I also get inspiration through my friends and art, not really from one specific person, except my mother interior designer Lyn Hutchings.”
Although she is married to German model Johannes Huebl, who is often named as one of the best male style Instagrammers (he has more than 928,000 followers, while she has 4.9 million), Palermo admits the couple don’t swap fashion tips or offer each other inspiration. “I have nothing to do with my husband’s dress style. He doesn’t advise me either,” she says. “We keep it very separate – I might ask him about an outfit every now and then as you would a friend, but we have our own individual style.”
The Middle East, however, is a source of inspiration for the fashion star, who is excited about returning to the United Arab Emirates for an exclusive event with Vogue Arabia and Amber. “I always follow stylish women of the Middle East,” she says. “They have such wonderful style and incredible accessories. It’s always inspiring to see how the ladies put themselves together.”
Palermo has some big plans while in the UAE. “Last time I was in Dubai I went to the desert and I found that to be really amazing,” she says. “This time I would really like to visit Mall of the Emirates to see the ski slope and
snow. I also plan to shop.”
It’s hardly surprising that shopping is at the forefront of this fashionable star’s mind. “Style is vital to have and to appreciate,” she says. “It’s a part of everybody’s life. It’s important to have your own sense of style and sense of design, whether it’s in fashion or anything else.”
Vogue’s top picks from the collection:
Olivia Palermo will launch her collection at The Dubai Mall Banana Republic flagship store on September 14, from 10am. The first 50 customers to purchase an item from the Banana Republic x Olivia Palermo collection on the day will have the opportunity to personally meet Olivia Palermo when she visits the store from 8pm that evening.