The Hilton sisters, Paris Hilton and Nicky Hilton Rothschild, are indisputable fashion icons. You can’t think of the early aughts without thinking of them, their rainbow Louis Vuitton bags and bedazzled Juicy Couture tracksuits (which are back, by the way). But their die-hard love of fashion didn’t come out of nowhere. Their mother, Kathy Hilton, is just as big of a fashion fan as they are. The trio’s inimitable family style has been captured in a brand-new Valentino campaign, highlighting the label’s Roman Stud handbag and resort 2021 collection.
The campaign imagery was shot last week at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, and the shoot proved to be a memorable one, says Kathy. “We used to live there; it’s our home away from home,” she says. “It was really special, especially now—I don’t get to see the girls that often. They’re both busy working, and Nicky has her two little girls.” The rare get-together, or rather, glitzy photo shoot, provided an opportunity for Kathy to see her two daughters in work mode as established adults. “It’s been a long time since we’ve done a photo shoot together,” she says. “They were [real pros] telling me what to do: ‘Put your leg here; put your hand on your hip.’ It’s interesting to see the girls not fighting over the clothes!”
Kathy remembers her daughters’ early love for fashion fondly. “I used to bring them to the fashion shows in Paris when they were, like, 13 and 15,” she says. “I think that’s where they really got a taste and started to see all these beautiful things. And then the designers started to send them things. We had a huge entryway filled with racks of clothes.” Paris, in particular, had an experimental flair. “Paris could go to Patricia Field, find a pair of pants or a skirt, and then she would pair it with one of my good jackets,” Kathy says. “She was quite the character in the day.”
While they all have their own tastes, borrowing from each other’s closets is all but a family tradition. “They make themselves very at home in the closet,” says Kathy, adding that her handbags and jewelry are a particular hit with her daughters. Paris also recently borrowed one of her pink and white Chanel suits. “I have kept a lot of beautiful things, including some gorgeous Valentino from the ’90s,” Kathy says. “Nicky actually wore one of them to the Met ball [in 2001]. It was a gorgeous yellow beaded skirt with a chiffon top, and it was to the knee, which was unusual for the Met ball. And she borrowed one of my very good necklaces. I didn’t even know until I saw the pictures!”
These days, they give fashion advice freely to each other. “I don’t buy anything, and they don’t, unless we all agree on it,” Kathy says. “We’ll share ideas—they’ll ask me and I’ll ask them.” The number one fashion rule she’s instilled in her daughters is, “You don’t have to put on everything in the closet,” she says. As for what her daughters have taught her? “I learned about Juicy Couture from them,” she says, adding that she still has four of the beloved tracksuits today. “They both have their own style, and it’s so interesting to just take little notes here and there.”