Ask anyone about Nicole Warne and they'll have nothing but good things to say. Warm, down-to-earth and with the charm of the girl next door, that’s just the tip of the iceberg—she’s also an internationally recognised face who has graced numerous magazine covers with a social media following of 1.7 million.
Read more: Iris Apfel On The Power Of Good Accessories
Recently in Hong Kong, we caught up with the style maven to talk everything from her travel plans to her specially designed handbag for Roger Vivier.
Welcome back to Hong Kong! Can you tell us about your last visit here?
I think the last time I was in Hong Kong was almost two years ago, I came for a fashion event and a beauty conference. Hong Kong’s such a fun city; the shopping is amazing and I love that the city is by the water.
You launched your blog in 2009 and in less than 10 years, you were named as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30. What do you attribute to your success?
The whole journey has been really surreal. I launched my site with an eBay store that eventually evolved into an e-commerce site, and I felt like I was really at the right place at the right time. The social media landscape was just starting to change—it exploded, globally, for everyone. My career trajectory completely changed, and one of the best skills to have to survive is adapting and being flexible.
Have things changed for you since becoming a member of this list?
I wouldn’t say that my commercial opportunities changed or increased, but it definitely gave me incredible visibility and introduced me to a lot of industry insiders that I haven’t had a chance to meet before. It is this community and once you’re a part of it, you feel very connected.
I had the opportunity to go to the Forbes Summit in Singapore a year ago, and it was amazing to meet all the other people on the list. A girl I met had built a robot, and another guy proposed a way to provide clean water for the world—those were really inspiring talks that removed me from the fashion bubble, which was a nice change.
How was it growing up in Australia? How did you end up in fashion?
I grew up on a farm in Western Australia, which is the furthest thing you could imagine from fashion. During my teenage years, I moved to North Avoca, a suburb outside of Sydney. It’s very different to the places I work in now and that’s probably one of the reasons why it’s so special.
I go to Sydney three to four times a week, but where I live is very secluded and really untouched. I love that there’s not much to do there, other than go hiking, swimming, or just be really active.
You’re widely respected in the industry for championing Australian designers. Who are some of your favourites?
I’m actually quite good friends with the majority of them—a lot of us started out in fashion at the same time. I really love Michael Lo Sordo, Dion Lee, Christopher Esber. I’m a very loyal buyer. When I find a brand that I love, I will go back to them season after season. Toni Maticevski is great for eveningwear, for accessories I go to Ryan Storer, Sarah and Sebastian for jewellery. Sarah and Sebastian even designed my engagement ring!
You travel extensively. What’s one of your favourite holiday spots or most memorable trips?
Hawaii is a place that’s really close to my heart. Believe it or not, but my fiancé and I only get to go away together twice a year. We work separately and in different industries so we’re just passing ships in the night. One of my favourite trips recently was to Norway. We did these 11-hour hikes in Trolltunga. You really push yourself mentally and physically, but the end result is just so rewarding.
What’s your way of unwinding and relaxing? Especially after travelling or fashion weeks?
I don’t get to exercise when I’m away, so for me, to unwind is just to be active. When I’m back home, I’ll exercise for days and go on a pretty intense detox. I recently became vegan, so when I’m on a detox, I take it one step further by eliminating refined sugar, coffee, tea and alcohol. I feel great after; my skin gets better and I feel light. My time to relax is when I really take good care of myself.
Travelling so much can be quite isolating, are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m definitely more of an introvert now, but when I was younger I was the opposite. I was so incredibly loud and bubbly, to the point where no one could really contain my energy.
I guess you realize as you get older time is so precious, whether it’s with your family, your friends or yourself. So outside of travelling for work or fashion weeks, I’ve become very introverted, and that’s how I get my energy. It’s weird how it switches, but maybe its something that comes as an adult.
The age-old question: how do you pack for fashion week?
I don’t think packing gets any easier. It’s still a nightmare. I have a suitcase purely for my shoes because I pack them with my shoe boxes. I’ve ruined so many pairs of shoes over the years—they bend, scuff or scratch, so now I pack the boxes.
I made a rule that I was going to only wear Australian designers a few seasons ago, and that actually made packing much easier. The Australian aesthetic is really minimal, so it goes well with almost everything. Most of the designers are really open minded so they encourage me to mix and match.
Can you tell us about the process of designing the Photocall bag by Roger Vivier?
I was really stressed about it at first. The handbag is like a blank canvas, and I really wanted to do justice to Roger Vivier. I decided to go down the embellishment route and adorn it with Swarovski crystals and pearls. I drew inspiration from the iconic Roger Vivier diamond buckle and wanted to interpret it in my own way. I love the contrast of the materials—the roughness of the crystals with the smooth leather.
Do you look up to anyone in particular in the fashion industry?
I really look up to Eva Chen. I met her six years ago when she was still working at Teen Vogue. I still remember she gave me a ride during New York Fashion Week; it was the middle of winter and it was snowing. We’ve always stayed in touch, but I really admire her work ethic and her work-life balance.
She just had her second baby, and she seems to juggle it all and make it look really easy. And she’s just very genuine and sweet, and really, I love that she’s not jaded. She loves what she does, she embraces everyone and she has a great energy. I’m really inspired by women who are self-made, very ambitious, very driven but are good people at heart.
What’s your focus for 2017?
On the personal side, I need to plan my wedding for next year! We haven’t set a date yet, but it will likely be in April 2018. We’ve been engaged for nearly two years now. And on a professional level, I’m still looking to relocate to New York. The city has a great energy about it and there’s so much happening there on the digital space.
This article first appeared on hk.asiatatler.com.
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