Personal Shopper Nick Collins On What Luxury Items Everyone Wants Right Now

by Aaron Royce

Despite 2020’s many challenges, fashion has kept moving forward—and that includes VIP personal shopping, which is increasingly happening via Instagram these days. Especially as the holidays arrive, the most diligent pros in the game are visiting the city’s top boutiques—and more obscure vendors!—to source the most popular and exclusive pieces for their clients. One such individual is Nick Collins, who got his start at Bergdorf Goodman and is now as a stylist and personal shopper for Black Box Concierge (he also curates their enviable Instagram feed!). We talked to Collins about all things shopping, fashion, and what we should have on our wishlists this year.

Did you always know styling was something you wanted to do?
Absolutely! Ever since I was a little boy I was obsessed with playing dress up with Barbie dolls. However when I first moved to New York, I quickly realized the difference between personal styling and editorial styling. I gravitated to the collaborative experience of being on set for a photo shoot, but ultimately personal shopping and styling was where I found my niche.

 

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A post shared by Nick Collins (@nickcollinsofficial)

Black Box’s Instagram feed is so visually appealing! How do you choose what to post and when?
First, thank you so much! Our social media has gown a lot since we started, and I’m very proud of where we’re at now. I pay close attention to new season collections and forecast what I predict may be of interest to our clients and followers. Ideally we like to encourage our clients to preorder in advance to secure hard to source items, so sharing on social media as soon as possible is crucial.

What are your favorite boutiques to visit while shopping?
I love concept spaces; designers are frequently using a pop-up shop approach to create hype and excitement around new collections. Recently Dior opened up a pop-up ski shop in Soho with a hot chocolate stand outside. These kinds of special events always make it even more fun to go out and shop.

How have you seen clients change their shopping habits during the pandemic?
With so many lockdowns all over the world, I think most people are finding they have less opportunities to dress up. Large gatherings seem to be happening less and I think it’s made the desire for people to get out of their sweatpants grow even more. I’m predicting post-pandemic we’ll see some crazy fashion out there.

What types of pieces are you seeing people request or shop for now, compared to last year?
More or less, and year to year, I think there’s a general desire to upgrade seasonal classics. If that’s a new Chanel bikini or a beautiful Hermes boot, it really depends on your lifestyle and the needs of the client.

What are you seeing people shop for during this holiday season?
I think it varies, anything from coats such as the Moncler x Richard Quinn collaboration or jewelry like the Cartier single hoop earrings. A Prada bucket hat or a Balenciaga track sneaker never hurt anyone either.

Have you seen your client’s needs change this season, in light of the pandemic?
With everyone spending so much more time at home I think clients are looking for ways to improve their quality of life at home. Whether it’s shopping for interiors or looking for unique activities to enjoy the extra time they may have with their families, home life has never been more important.

Any predictions for the most popular gifts people might receive this year?
The Prada Reedition multi pouch bag in green saffiano leather is particularly stunning. I’d also have to say that if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on the Amina Muaddi x AWGE PVC slingback, you’ve hit the holiday jackpot!

Personal shoppers are known for going above and beyond for their clients! Do you have any stories from when you had to track down pieces that were particularly hard to source?
When Jacquemus first released his stamped croc Le Chiquito bag the internet went crazy, making it close to impossible to locate any in most major cities. Fortunately I came across a small independent boutique while traveling to Boston (of all places!), and noticed this impossibly hard to find bag just sitting in the window. I stayed in touch with the shop and they quickly became my go-to for this limited piece.

What have been some of the more challenging pieces, styles, or brands to track down this year?
I’m going to state the obvious, Amina Muaddi. I’ve closely watched her rise from a small shoe brand at Bergdorf Goodman to Rihanna’s right hand gal. She’s without a doubt the most in demand shoe designer out there. Her hard to find footwear are worth the wait…

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