Olivia Palermo On Pairing Zara With Cavalli, Being "Over" Sneaker Wedges

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1Say what you will about Olivia Palermo's role on The City, but this stylist-slash-model-slash-total-mogul has taken NYC (and the fashion world) by storm. That's right, the Big Apple's number-one It Girl has come a long way since the halls of Diane von Furstenberg, and she's got a whole lot to show for it — including designer collabs, glossy covers, and a kick-ass website. Oh, and the dreamiest boyfriend ever (not that we're lusting or anything).

To tap into some of that star power, we caught up with Palermo at NYC's Piperlime outpost (she's also a guest editor for the site, you know, in her free time) to pick her brain on all things style. We got the dish on everything from her drop-dead gorgeous Cannes looks and her best fashion tips, to how she makes her relationship work despite her busy schedule. Read on to find out what she loves, what she hates, and why you should call up your tailor, stat.

You recently rocked some red carpets in Cannes — can you tell us about what the process is like, picking out dresses and prepping?
"The gold dress I wore, it's such a beautiful dress that it doesn't need much. I just added a jacket to it, to make it a little more conservative."

You paired your Roberto Cavalli with a jacket from Zara for that red carpet look. What's your philosophy for high/low dressing?
"I'm all for it. My feeling is it's not about how much something costs — if it looks great, it looks great, and you've created your own look. So in that sense, I always like adding a little bit of High Street to things."

We love your website! What goes into making it?
"We have about 15 solid contributing writers, and we're under new management right now, so there have been some changes. But it's been fantastic — from February on it's been a completely different site. I'm really hands-on, I oversee every single feature on the site. You know, it's a full-time job, but I think that we have so many international readers, so it's fantastic to kind of be able to give designers a worldwide platform."

Where do you look for inspiration and how do you decide what brands and products to feature?
"It's sort of like a hit-or-miss with designers. Sometimes, you're a little luckier than others when it comes to seasons that you really love. Right now, I'm truly loving Altuzarra. I think it's a really amazing brand, and Katie Ermilio as well. You kind of have to be selective."

When you broke onto the scene with The City, did you imagine that you would become such a big style star? What did you envision for your career-path back then, and how has that changed?
"I think it's been amazing that I've really tried to be very hands-on in everything I do. And I wear many different hats — from the styling aspect of it, to the creative aspect, and then obviously doing the website. Spending time working with different magazines and in Diane von Furstenberg's office was really valuable and gave me a great understanding of where I wanted to go."

Is there anything that you're still hoping to accomplish that you haven't tackled?
"There is so much room for more, but I think growing OP.com to what we think its potential is. We know we can be even bigger."

Have you had to make any sacrifices in your life to gain this success? How do you balance it all?
"I have a really solid balance, and I have an amazing boyfriend, and we're both kind of in the same place. We have a great system, so we work together. He oversees a lot of things for me as well. And we're never separated for more than seven to eight days."

You've travelled pretty much everywhere — what is your favorite place thus far, and what kind of inspiration in your styling and design has it given you?
"Tokyo is one of my biggest inspirations, and it always has been. I unfortunately don't get to go every single year, but last year we did go for a seven-day vacation with two of our friends and we really got into the culture. It's such an amazing culture — the street style in Tokyo is unlike anyplace else in the world. And I love the fact that the men love style, too. You can really be inspired by every single thing, the architecture, everything."

What's the trend you're most looking forward to wearing this summer?
"You know, I really like the tribal inspiration that Altuzarra did, and I'm trying to create my own twist onto that."

Is there anything you would never try?
"I'm not a big wedge person, and I'm really not a sneaker-wedge person."

What's your most prized possession?
"Johannes!"

Okay, that was an easy one. What about your most prized possession in your closet?
"I have a gold bracelet my mom gave to me that I wear almost every day, it's like my watch. Everyone always says I'm very loyal to this bracelet."

What are three of your best style tips?
"To understand the proportions of your body is seriously important. Having a great tailor is also a big one — it doesn't matter how much it costs, that little nip of tailoring can make all the difference. And finally, have a great cocktail ring or statement piece of jewelry that you can throw on in the summer or winter and play it up."

Photo: Courtesy of Piperlime