[Originally posted on January 2009]
A native to San Francisco’s bay area, Nicole Saldana began her journey at LA’s FIDM. During her time at the school’s Fashion Design program Nicole assisted Stevie Wonder’s niece on her line Lula B. After living in LA for two years, Nicole moved to New York to pursue a Bachelors degree in Design + Management at Parsons New School. Living in New York has presented her with a large range of positions from internships with Prada corp. and Rachel Comey to her current position as assistant designer for Opening Ceremony’s in house label. Not being a stranger to international travel she’s been across Europe, Asia, and Oceania noting Japan as being the most beautiful place she’s ever visited.
Did you study design formally in school?
Yes. I went to FIDM in Los Angeles to study Fashion Design. After the two-year program I then moved to New York to study Design and Management. After three years there I left, as I was offered a Design job at Opening Ceremony. And I never looked back…
How did you get involved with Opening Ceremony?
I actually started off interning in the store. After a few months I was then offered a position as a member of the sales staff. Shortly thereafter I was asked to help out on the design team.
What are some main inspirations for you?
Everything from the fit of an old man’s pants walking by Confucius Plaza in Chinatown to bums wearing 5 layers of textured earth tones.
What would we find playing on your iPod right now?
I don’t have one, but if I did, it would be Hercules and Love Affair.
When Chloë Sevigny designed a collection for the store how did the distribution of creativity work, did you guys just let her go at it?
We pretty much gave her full range. We obviously were there to help with the technical aspects and questions, but for the most part she really made some grand gestures in the collection. I think the collection was a beautiful collaborative effort from both of our parts. It was really definitive of the season and mood that summer.
If you could meet any woman living or dead who would it be?
Can you describe the changes New York and its neighborhoods have gone through from the time you moved into the city and now?
Woah! Well I’ve only lived in NYC for about 4 years now. But, I would have to answer this question about 6 years from now in order to fully realize the changes that have been made. I can say so far that the nightlife scene is definitely on the decline.
What are some of the best spots in the city for a girl to relax?
Podunk, the best little tea shop in NYC. It’s like a little piece of suburban country on 5th street in the East Village. I also love the Russian Bath House in the Financial District and the Frick Museum. The latter is an old mansion in the Upper East Side. It’s beautiful and for whatever reason, it’s not stuffy and is a very inviting private museum. I also love Mudd coffee shop on East 9th street. And, I cannot forget to mention the best-best-best-best ramen place in NYC, Ippudo!!!
Can you explain your involvement with Heron Preston’s venture lagirlsny?
Well, Heron and I went to school together and he asked to me be apart of this amazing collaboration, the Downtown Yearbook with other creative kids. It was a really great avenue to showcase talent in a special and interesting way. He is super amazing and such a force of nature. I can definitely guarantee that he will continue to produce great work for the future to come.
What are your favourite fanzines and/or magazines? Do you prefer print over web based publications?
My heart will always belong to i-D. But, I also love Self Service, Purple Magazine, New York Magazine, dlisted.com, perezhilton.com, nyglob.com, and other obnoxious celebrity blogs.
To live on the coast someplace in Mexico making hand-made shoes and slippers.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/interviewed here?
Kim Ann from Hercules and Love Affair or the lovely Joie Iacono.