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Miller, Nicole

miller’s design line prints

B. 1952

Birthplace: Lenox, Massachusetts

Awards: Dallas Fashion Award, 1991
         Girl Scouts of America Award, New York, 1994

Nicole Miller’s practical yet fun design philosophy has made her remarkably successful. Some of Miller’s inspirations stem from her childhood. Her father, an engineer, fascinated Miller with his interesting gadgets, while her mother sparked her interest with French fashion magazines. After high school, Miller attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. During her sophomore year, she had the opportunity to travel abroad to Paris where she attended L’Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale Parisienne. This haute couture school developed Miller’s technical skills and provided her with insight into the aesthetics of clothing. The most important skill Miller received from her training was an understanding of how to achieve a proper cut, an aspect crucial to dress design.

After Miller finished her intensive studies, she went to New York to pursue a career in fashion. Her first significant design position was with the rainwear company Rain Cheetahs in 1975. Although beneficial and inspiring, Miller left herself open for other opportunities and pursued a position as head dress designer with P.J. Walsh. Miller was selected for the position over 200 other applicants.

Miller’s definition of a good dress design consists of proper cut, overall proportion, and simple but unique details. Miller’s guiding philosophy made her so successful at P.J. Walsh that the company president, Bud Konheim, made her a partner in 1982 and renamed the company Nicole Miller. Her next success came as a surprise; in 1987, as she prepared to open her first store, a stock shortage required her to act quickly, and she ordered silk to be printed for scarves. The scarves were instantly popular, and Bud Konheim suggested that Miller also produce a line of men’s ties in the same prints. The whimsical, eye-catching prints, based on themes such as sports, foods, and animals, appealed to a range of personalities. Her inspirations for the prints came from her observations of New York City and her other travels. The success of Miller’s ties led her to design a line of men’s printed boxers and robes.

Although known mainly for her prints, Miller has also established herself as a cocktail and bridesmaid dress designer. She combines simple silhouettes with unusual fabrics. Miller has established a niche for herself by designing bridesmaid’s dresses that are both affordable and practical and can be worn again for other functions. Miller’s dresses can be found throughout the country in her boutiques and in various bridal shops. Miller has also expanded her business to include several other product lines. She designs a swim line, which is manufactured by Cole of California, a lingerie line, fragrances for both men and women, handbags, socks, footwear, and a skin-care line which she introduced in 1999 through a partnership with Melaleuca.

Miller is renowned for her witty prints, which have made a huge impact on the apparel and textile industry and are now replicated by several other manufacturers. Her immediately identifiable designs are widely worn by various celebrities. Miller’s key to success is her ability to keep things simple and practical by implementing trends into fun, refreshing designs.

Miller, Nolan [next] [back] Miller, Jacques (Francis Albert Pierre)

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