Nikki Hilton

Into the Wild with Nicky Hilton

Yes, even your Louboutins can be more sustainable.

Even uptown girls can get a little greener.

Take Nicky Hilton, the fashion fixture whose name is synonymous with Beverly Hills and Upper East Side style—and who’s been spending the past few years making sustainable adjustments in her wardrobe and her life. “It’s become a small obsession,” says the New York native. “I think about the small ways we can reduce our impact all the time, especially in fashion—but also, just in life!”

To that end, Hilton’s working on 2 collaborations—the heritage shoe label French Sole and the Insta-friendly kids line Sun House—using recycled and upcycled materials to make their collections. She’s also teaching her kids “little things that make a big difference—like how we always bring our own bags to the grocery store, or reusable water bottles when we travel.”

Here’s what Nicky thinks about vintage hunting, red carpet rewears, and how animals say “I love you.”

You’ve been a style influencer for your entire adult life. Why pivot into sustainable fashion now?

I just think we all have to do our part. I’ve learned if we all just did a little bit more for the environment, things can shift in a bigger way. I feel like it’s a moral obligation to say, “These designs are great; how can we lessen the impact?” Plus, there are so many incredible alternatives out there—materials that are not harmful for the environment! So it's really a no brainer to ask designers and brands, “If you’re going to make these great shoes anyway, why not do it with the more sustainable option?”

Is that what happened with French Sole and Sun House?

Yes, and besides using a lot of recycled fabrics and vegan material in recent collections for Nicky Hilton x French Sole, we’ve also done plant-based soles. It’s not just the design, it’s the entire shoe that’s better… and with Nicky Hilton x Sun House, my mom [Kathy Hilton] actually found the brand on Instagram. It’s a female-owned brand in Georgia, and it really captures their Southern charm and elegance. My mom bought their swimsuits for my daughters, and they asked if we could collaborate. I said, “You know, I’d love to do bathing suits, but they need to be made with recycled materials, and sustainable methods.”

Nikki Hilton

Because if it’s going in the ocean…

It has to be mindful of the planet. Exactly.

Part of sustainable style is wearing things for longer. How do you make your favorite pairs of shoes last for years?

Take everything to get rubberized by a cobbler. That way, not only are you protecting your shoes from the weather and from getting worn out, but you’re getting extra traction on the bottom so you don’t slide around. I do it with my heels and my favorite flats, and it makes such a difference… And you know, there’s a cobbler in Beverly Hills—Arturo—and they actually rubberize your Louboutins with a red rubber sole that will match the original. I’m obsessed with it.

hat’s the thing in your closet that you rewear the most?

The Max Mara teddy coat. It’s so warm and looks great with everything. It’s the best investment piece I’ve ever bought because I wear it season after season. Sometimes I’ll even wear two at once when it’s freezing.

Are you a big vintage shopper?

Yes, but it’s mostly online. I’ll think of pieces I never got the first time, and try to track them down… the last thing I bought was a Celine coat I’ve had my eye on for years. Like ten years, it’s one of the Phoebe Philo coats, and I finally found it. I think that’s such a fun part of vintage shopping.

The hunt!


Nikki Hilton

Do you use nature to help your mental health at all?

Well, I live in Manhattan, the concrete jungle, you know? So there’s not much nature around here, although of course the parks are wonderful, and even walking to the museums can be beautiful outside. But when we’re outside the city, we go on long walks together as a family. It’s really peaceful and we get to appreciate the nature preserves and experience all the seasons.

Please tell us a fact about your favorite animal.

My favorite animal is a cat. I am the proud owner of two of them, and I think they’re simply the best. They’re so elegant, and you really have to work for their love… Do you know, they’ll tell you they love you by headbutting you? That’s how you know you’re in.

Do you have a favorite vegan swap?

Ladureé has a vegan menu, did you know that? They make a version of their ham-and-cheese omelet and the vegan ham tastes so real. It’s amazing.

At Wild Elements, we talk a lot about making small steps for big changes. What are some little things you do for the planet?

Oh, I think about this every single day. I’m obsessive about bringing my own bags when I shop. When I go to a department store, I always ask them to keep the bag, and definitely do not wrap anything I buy in tissue paper, because you can’t recycle that! I bring my own bags to the grocery store religiously. I also take shorter showers and make sure I turn the lights before I leave the house. It’s those tiny things that really add up, and they’re not hard!