Elizabeth Street meets Nicole Hanley Mellon
We chat with the designer behind Hanley Mellon
In 2008, Nicole Hanley Mellon and her boyfriend (now husband) businessman Matthew Mellon, started their own label. She describes Hanley Mellon as “American legacy meets European Bohemia.” In addition to running her very hip line, she is also a mom to William Force, 1, and stepmom to Minty, 9.
Where do you find your style inspiration?
I have a certain sensitivity to my surroundings and find inspiration is something—anything—that literally takes my breath away—a song, a room, a dress, a look, a photograph, a view, a sculpture, a taste, a story.
Who are your influences?
I have grown up surrounded by incredible taste. My grandmother was old world chic to the core and my mother is a modern version of her. My dad has an innate vision of (and respect for) architecture and landscape; my sister has become my check/balance and is very resourceful. My husband never misses a single nuance and intuitively gets it—he finds incredible things I would never have seen myself—he hears each instrument individually in a symphony.
Do you have a muse/style icon?
I love a seamless look—anytime on anyone—you just know it is right. Giovanna Battaglia, from what I can see, gets it right every time.
How would you describe Force’s style?
Style is your presence. Force is very present- he seems to have a deep wisdom about him.
Where do you like to go shopping for your son?
Bonpoint, The Gap, Spring Flowers
Will you let Force dress himself?
My mother approved of my fashion choices so she/I got lucky. Let’s say, I hope he has my taste.
How important is style as a mode of self-expression for children?
My stepdaughter is 9. She has very clear ideas of what she likes style wise. It is an important mode of self-expression for her. I have always been very specific about what I like, which is (and was not) necessarily always what is currently popular, but was validated by those whose taste I admired from a very young age—my grandmother, my mother, Mark Hampton…
How has becoming a mom affected your personal style and your designs?
I just don’t care to take the same kind of time getting my “look” right, but then often bum as I dash out the door and think, “Ohhhh, those other shoes would have been much better!”—Cat Buckley