Longtime friends Nicky Hilton Rothschild and Amanda Hearst Rønning — great-granddaughters of American business magnates Conrad Hilton and William Randolph Hearst Sr., respectively — are collaborating for the first time.
“I couldn’t think of a better partner than Amanda,” said Rothschild. “We’ve been friends since we were babies.”
“Our parents are best friends, and they grew up together in California,” said Rønning. “Nicky and I are about a year apart, so we grew up together in New York, and we’ve been friends for, I guess you could say, forever.”
“I’ve learned a lot from Amanda,” continued Rothschild. “She’s introduced me to some of my favorite brands.”
Sustainable brands, that is.
For her fourth footwear collection in partnership with French Sole, which specializes in ballet flats, Rothschild is introducing a cruelty-free and eco-friendly line. The launch is out via presale today exclusively at Maison-de-mode.com — Rønning’s online platform showcasing sustainable fashions — before becoming available on the site on April 1 and at Nickyhilton.com and Frenchsoleshoes.com on April 19. Ten percent of proceeds from April sales will go toward Rønning’s environmental and animal welfare charity, Well Beings.
“I know that the word sustainable has become such a buzzword, and I made it very clear to French Sole that the shoes were to be 100 percent sustainable, not partially,” Rothschild said of the collection, which was designed pre-pandemic and manufactured in Spain in a factory that specializes in sustainable materials.
“During the summer, I live in cotton dresses, silk dresses, cut-off jean shorts, a button down, so I really wanted something easy, fun and comfortable to pair with that,” Rothschild added.
Priced at $165 each and made with vegan microfiber, she’s offering the “Amanda,” named after Rønning, an “espadrille sneaker” that comes in stripes (37 percent polyester seaqual, 25 percent recycled cotton, 19 percent recycled polyester and 19 percent recycled linen) and tie-dye (95 percent recycled polyester, 5 percent polyester). There are also two flats: the “Sunny,” another tie-dye option, celebrating a free-spirited childhood friend (95 percent recycled polyester and 5 percent polyester), and the “Kathy,” a bestseller honoring her mother (100 percent organic cotton, faux leather and polyester).
“When I’m designing collections, I always name pieces after women that I admire,” Rothschild said.
In the world of sustainability, “footwear is a trickier online category,” said Rønning, who launched Maison de Mode in 2012 alongside business partner Hassan Pierre. “My biggest struggle is finding really chic, well-fitting cruelty-free shoes.…So it was really exciting that Nicky not only used recycled and organic materials, but she went the cruelty-free route as well, so that was a big deal for me personally.”
The purpose of her site is to offer sustainable luxury, she added: “It’s to make sustainable fashion accessible, for people to sort of have a one-stop shop. And then also to destigmatize it for anyone that has preconceived notions and showcase the luxury, the qualities, the beauty of so many of the brands in that space.”
Maison de Mode carries 80 brands, ranging in price from $18 for Swedish stockings to $100,250 for diamond earrings.
“If something is truly sustainable in our opinion, it’s something made to last,” she said.