Paris Hilton first became famous for, well, being famous. But her impact on 2000’s pop culture was disruptive, nonetheless. She’s responsible for things like reality TV super-stardom, including the Kardashians (no, really), celebrity product lines, the popular saying “that’s hot,” and the iconic Juicy Couture tracksuit. Hilton is a walking symbol of noughties nostalgia.
In a new interview with Vogue, Hilton reflects on her influential fashion choices in the early aughts and how her signature style created what came to be known as the Juicy Effect. “It was all about monograms and labels like Chanel, and Dior, and Louis Vuitton. And I feel like everyone just had really fun with their fashion choices. I think it was just all about being super extra,” the socialite explains of the ’00s. “I’ve always been obsessed with wearing lots of pink and sparkles, a lot of Swarovski crystals… anything that was bright and stood out.”
She goes onto explain that she discovered Juicy Couture through her friend Laura Shiftman, who was representing the brand at the time and sent the Hilton sisters some styles. “As soon as I put on my first Juicy tracksuit, I was obsessed. I said please send me more. I want the full collection, every single color,” she says. “I just fell in love with the brand, and it basically became my uniform.”
As you may recall, there was a time when Hilton was photographed wearing the two-piece velour tracksuits everywhere — to the airport, to nightclubs, on the red carpet, and even on the set on her reality show, The Simple Life, with longtime friend Nicole Richie. “I was not only wearing them to the airport or just chilling at my house in them, I was going out at night in them, and I was rocking them with everything,” she says. “I was kind of the face of the brand.”
It didn’t take long for the tracksuit trend to catch on. “I remember after The Simple Life aired, all of a sudden I started seeing Juicy Couture everywhere,” Hilton recalls. “When you looked through any tabloid, everyone was rocking them. People were going to the airport in them, people were going out in them, people were doing music videos in them — and this was not just in LA. I would see people wearing it all around the world.”
Soon, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, and Beyoncé — basically all of Hollywood’s ‘It’ girls — were also sporting the words “Juicy” across their rears. You couldn’t miss it, and at just around $150 for the two-piece tracksuit, it was just attainable enough to appeal to the masses, too, specifically middle to upper class teenage girls. The Juicy effect was in full swing by 2008, making $605 million in sales.
Of course, like with most things, the brand’s success lost steam. In 2014, Juicy Couture shuttered all of its retail locations, and since then has been focused on rebuilding a brand based on noughties nostalgia. In 2018, the brand held their first-ever New York Fashion Week runway show, with a more robust collection of athleisure. Juicy Couture also launched a playful line of color cosmetics that year — all glittery and colorful and reminiscent of the brand’s optimistic spirit.
“Nostalgia has proven to be one of our brand’s greatest assets,” the company’s creative director Jamie Mizrahi wrote on Instagram at the time.
“Before there was Juicy, I think tracksuits were just very sport and athletic, but they were the first ones to actually make a tracksuit cool,” Hilton says. “Still today they have that huge impact in fashion where people are trying to imitate what they did. It’s amazing now to see just so many of these looks I wore are now on the runway.”
She continues: “It makes me feel proud to have had such an impact in fashion history. When people think back on 2000s fashion, the first thing they are going to think about is Juicy Couture.” There’s absolutely no doubt about that, and Paris Hilton’s impact on the tracksuit’s street cred is undeniable.
Over the years, she says she has acquired hundreds of Juicy suits in every color-way possible. “I have an entire closet that’s only Juicy Couture,” she reveals in the video. “I’ve never stopped wearing it, and I never will because I’m a Juicy girl for life.”