Paris Hilton Still Has Her 21st-Birthday Dress, Is Ready for Some Other Early Aughts Trends to Come Back, Too
Full disclosure: I love Paris Hilton. Her pastel bias-cut-and-backless dresses. Her series of blonde bob cuts in the aughts. Her penchant for Juicy Couture tracksuits and her love of rescuing animals. I couldn’t be more unlike her, brunette, nerdy, always in flats, but I have a lot of appreciation for the unbridled fun of Paris Hilton’s life. Naturally I’ve been chronicling her style since both she and I were teens, sniffing out any reference to her in pop culture or on the runways. I was rewarded and then some when Kendall Jenner wore a piece-for-piece re-creation of Hilton’s 21st-birthday chain-mail dress to her own 21st birthday party in New York City.
The homage was nearly exact—and calculated: Before deleting her Instagram, Jenner posted a photo of her look with the caption, “Paris Hilton vibes.” The original Miss Hilton was flattered. Speaking on the phone, she told me, “Kendall, I was just at her birthday party the other night, and when I was saying hi to her I looked down at her dress and I’m like, ‘Oh my god that dress is stunning.’ That was actually my dress for my 21st birthday, as well. We were laughing about how the dresses look exactly alike and she looked stunning in it, it was such a beautiful dress. To see that re-created just brought back a lot of memories.”
Jenner isn’t the only one triggering memories of Hilton’s early aughts for me. A cursory glance at the runways of the past two years shows that Paris’s style moves of 2000 to 2006 are coming back into fashion again, and at some of the industry’s most famed labels—and that’s no joke. Vetements, one of the haute arbiters of trends, has collaborated with Juicy Couture. Alexander McQueen, home of the bumster, is bringing back the low-rise jean. Dolce & Gabbana is reinforcing the slinky wiggle dress in pastel colors. And long before Kendall Jenner’s birthday dress, Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing sent chain-mail numbers down its Spring 2017 runway. “I think it’s fun that it’s coming back,” Hilton muses. “Some things I’m not that wild about, like I am not into Uggs unless it’s like nobody can see me wearing them, like I’m at my house or something. . . . But I do love low-rise jeans, I love Juicy sweatsuits—I’ve never stopped wearing them, I think they’re so comfortable and I love the colors. They’re great for traveling or just chilling at your house. So yes, I like some of the styles, but not everything.”
The secret to Hilton’s iconic style is simpler than you’d think too, which is perhaps what makes it so legendary. “Back then everything was just so random, I felt like. I was just coming into my own and I was just learning about style. I didn’t even have a stylist. My sister, and Nicole [Richie], and I would either get sent a lot of things or we would go to Melrose and buy anything that was either really blinged-out and sparkly or very pink. Sometimes I look back and I’m like, I can’t believe I wore that,” she laughs. “It’s so different now, style.”
Hilton is working on her own collection of sparkling items—more on that soon! Unsurprisingly, at least to this Hilton-ite editor, her fashion picks for fall and winter are on the money: They include neon colors (seen all over the Spring runways), latex (hello, Balenciaga!), thigh-high boots (she prefers Stuart Weitzman’s), and LED lights (the star of Chanel’s Spring 2017 show). As for her original silver Julien Macdonald birthday dress, she says, “I actually still have that dress, it’s in my closet, so I think I’m going to pull it out one day.” Fingers crossed.
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