#M1 talks to / interviews


Olivia chats to Models 1’s Sarah over pastries at
a poplular haunt of hers, Aubaine

Olivia Palermo is fast becoming one of the worlds most watched fashionistas. Growing up between New York and Greenwich, Connecticut, she was noticed by photographer Patrick McMullan, who began to publish photos of her at events. She hit the mainstream conscious by starring in the MTV reality series the city, and has since featured in numerous campaigns including Freda for Matches, Hogan, Mango and editorials, recently featuring on the cover of Tatler’s October issue.

Famous for her impeccable natural smile, Olivia is proving that she’s more than just a pretty face. 2010 saw her launching a jewellery line in collaboration with Roberta Freyman, and continuing fundraising work with charities. With the eyes of the fashion world on already on her, she is only at the start of what is looking to be a very exciting career.

Models 1: Have you always been interested in fashion?

OP: Yes always. My mother and aunt both love fashion, and have always had great fashion senses, so I’ve grown up with an interest. I took a few classes at The New School, and at Parsons, but it was more for enjoyment. I interned at Quest Magazine, which was a great way to see how editorials work.

Gracing the cover of Tatler

M1: You have an enviable list of editorial credits, and must have been on some pretty exciting shoots. Are there any that stand out for you in particular?

OP: I just shot Vogue Spain in a studio, which was a really nice shoot, and good to work with the production team. I loved doing the Freda for Matches shoot, there was a really positive and happy atmosphere, and it was really well organised. Tom and Ruth Chapman have truly done a fabulous job with Matches. It is one of the best stores world wide in my mind. I recently traveled to the Maldives, which was incredible. It was just after Fashion week, so perfect timing. It was perfect get away after Fashion week!

M1: Fashion week must have been a pretty crazy time for you?

Olivia at Matthew Williamson SS 11

OP: Its always an important time of year for me! I did NY London and Paris. I would have very much like to go to Milan, but unfortunately It didn’t work out timing wise this season. I enjoy spending time in Europe, it has such a nice balance. I’m more European than American, and suit that laid back lifestyle. I think it’s really important to get that balance, and put your phone away when you’re not working. Sometimes enough is enough.

M1: How would you describe your style?

OP: I like to keep it classic. I wear a lot of tailoring and structured dresses. Accessories are really important, and a lot of my focus is on that. It completes an outfit and adds a creative spin, whether it’s a pendant or earrings. I actually just bought a coat from Ghost, I always buy my winter coats from there because they’re such amazing quality and really last. If I’m going to spend money on clothes I think quality is really important. I never take a whole look straight off the runway because I think that is boring. It’s important to wear what works with you, not just what on trend, and see clothes as investments. For example, if I buy a watch I want to wear it until I’m 90, so I would only invest in a classic, ageless piece.

M1: As a style icon, how do you feel about seeing your looks recreated on the street?

OP: It’s a great compliment. People are into fashion more today than ever, which I really like to see. I do however think that there is such a lack of glamour in every day wear, and needs to be more. New York is good for that, girls are always dressed up. I think that’s important and has a big effect on how you feel about

 yourself. It’s worth getting up that much earlier to spend a bit more time getting ready.

M1: Who are your favourite designers?

Featured in Vogue Spy

OP: I love Giambattista Valli, Matthew (Williamson), Charlotte Olympia, French Sole. I always like speak to designers to get feedback. When magazines write negative comments, I don’t pay attention to it, what’s more important to me is my relationship with the designer. If they spend all their effort on that then that’s up to them, I don’t let it affect me. I’m always on the

 lookout for new designers, and love St. Martins Lane. Rachel Roy’s work is amazing. She was recently awarded ‘Upcoming designer’ at the Ace awards, which she really deserves. I also love Oscar De La Renta, there is a dress from his SS 11 show which is gorgeous, and I have an image of it on my inspiration board.

M1: You work as an on-camera interviewer for ELLE.COM. Is presenting something you’d like to pursue?

OP: I did do a bit of presenting, but now I work as a contributing accessories editor. Presenting is not something I’m looking to pursue. At the moment my main focus is my modelling career.

M1: What would you be doing right now if you weren’t doing this?

OP: I would only be doing this. I find it so exciting, and couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I’m a creative person, and am able to use that while designing, consulting and styling. I want to go into acting, and am hoping to move into that industry soon. I’d like to try everything really.

M1: What do you think it takes to be a successful model?

OP: Hard work, dedication and professionalism are all very essential. You have to know what the client wants, and listen to them, even if the final result is not what you would have chosen. You are not there to judge, you are there to do your job. Obviously it’s important to have fun, and enjoy what you are doing, but I have been on shoots with other models where they do not treat it as a job and mess around. You need a balance. I love modelling, and the chance to act out a character.

M1: Which other model do you love right now?

OP: I love Monica Balucci, but mostly I look to old 50’s and 60’s Hollywood for inspiration.

M1: How do you relax?

OP: Spending time in the US with Johannes. We make sure that no matter what we see each other every 7

Olivia with boyfriend Johannes, for Mango

 days, and as soon as we get home work is left at the door. We love to ski and play Tennis. I also love Bikram Yoga, it’s a great way to keep in shape and cleanse your body and mind.

M1: You do a lot for charities including Housing Works, and New Yorkers for Children. What does this involve?

OP: I also work for a charity called Operation Smile. My role is as fundraiser, coming up with event ideas, as well as looking out for brands and companies we can get involved with. I’m always trying to connect and get everyone included.

M1: What can we be expecting from you in 2011?

OP: More design, definitely. I’m also starting to work on my own TV show, which is based around my life in fashion, and being creative. I’m also going to be doing a lot more modelling, which is a main priority. Daniel, my agent at Models 1 is doing a great job, he is the best person on my team, and I’m lucky to have him. A few collaborations are in the pipeline at the moment. I think the most important thing about a collaboration is a personal connection with the designer.

M1: Who would be your ultimate dinner date?

OP: Audrey Hepburn, Gary Grant, and Johannes of course.

Contact for Olivia is daniel@models1.co.uk

Posted by Sarah, sarah@models1.co.uk

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