Fashion icon Nicole Miller’s clothing designs are known to emphasize elegance and luxury, with just a dash of punk-rock rebellion. Last year, she brought these same sensibilities to a different industry: wine.
Here, we check in with the style matriarch to discuss her collaboration with Bordeaux’s Château Auguste, and how the worlds of fashion and wine pair as well as lobster tails and a chilled glass of her rosé.
Why did you make the jump into wine from the fashion world?
Well, they’re not that far [off] from each other. They intertwine all the time.
And I am French, so wine was something I grew up with. We always had wine at the dinner table… I accumulated a lot of French friends here in New York over the years. [One] happens to be a wine distributor, and during one of our “franglais” conversations…he said, “I think we could make you a rosé. Would you be interested?” And I was like, “Absolutely.”
How did you decide to work with Château Auguste?
My friend, the wine distributor [Jacques Azoulay], has several really strong relationships with multiple chateaus…Auguste among them. We did a lot of research and went on some tours and, eventually, we realized that Auguste was the way to go. I know rosé is traditionally made in Provence, but I think Bordeaux, where Auguste is located, is actually superior.
Our vintner is Damien Landouar, the famous French winemaker from Château Gaby in the Canon-Fronsac appellation, so my rosé is in good hands. I have good friends!
Have you been able to bring your fashion skills to your rosé?
When we were discussing what to put on the label, I had two ideas: One was to go with my old-school idea of conversational, putting grapes and vines, maybe little bottles and glasses all over the label. The second was to go the opposite—clean and modern.
I opted for the latter. Château Auguste’s own label is filled with grapes, vines and florals. So I wanted a real departure from that, something to give my rosé visual distinction. I think it looks modern and cool, and I also love that it’s mostly reminiscent of my own dress label.
Do you think this rosé is going will eventually affect your clothing line?
I’ll have to do a line of pale pink dresses now, won’t I? Ha! It’s funny, pink is not my favorite color to wear. I don’t mind it as a color, but it’s not a color that I normally would wear myself.
How do you think trends affect the wine world, especially rosé?
I think wine is trendy, just like everything else, and rosé is no different. If people hit on it at the right time, it becomes a viral thing, like it has recently.
Ours has been successful this last season, so hopefully it will latch on in the way other rosés have. Because, excuse me, mine is just better.
When did you become acquainted with rosé?
It was probably the summers in Saint-Tropez, going to those beach clubs, the long lunches, always so magical. And a cooled rosé was always available.
Once, years ago, I was staying in Saint-Tropez and had the chance to go to a wedding at Château d’Esclans in Provence. I tried their rosé, which is famously excellent, and couldn’t get enough. Rosé has been in my life for a long time.
Was rosé ever at the dinner table when you were growing up?
[My mother] certainly drank rosé later on in her life, but growing up, no. We never had rosé in the house.
But I don’t think it was popular back then, certainly not how it is now. Rosé is everywhere these days. I just think mine happens to be a particularly excellent one.
How involved did you get in the creation of your wine?
Mostly, for my part, it was a lot of tastings, a lot of testing batches, until we found the exact right concoction. I trust my own tasting acumen, but I trust my vintner’s even more.