Earlier this year, Harper's Bazaar broke the internet with not one but three Beyoncé covers for its September issue. Nikki Ogunnaike, the digital director for Bazaar, was one of the few talented people who led the rollout. For the past year, Ogunnaike has overseen the publication's digital arm, including its dotcom and social presences.
Ogunnaike's résumé is stacked. Prior to working at Bazaar, she spent time at Vanity Fair, GQ, and Elle, just to name a few.
Listen to Ogunnaike break down some of her favorite trends that she saw on the runway this season, which items she wants to add to her closet, and what it was really like to work on those three Beyoncé covers in the latest episode of Who What Wear With Hillary Kerr. For some excerpts from her interview, scroll below.
What are the trends that you saw for spring—the ones that you liked and how they're being styled on the runway?
I'm not sure that there are any hyper-specific trends that people have to be a part of anymore, and I think that's pretty cool. So I could say the Y2K resurgence is here. People and designers are excited about low-slung jeans. They're excited about the halter tops, miniskirts—like Abercrombie-esque miniskirts are definitely back in.
I also think there's something to be said for just the collective energy of people saying that "I don't really need or want to buy into trends anymore. I want to wear what is good for me."
Whether that's full sparkles every single day and getting dressed up and getting excited about being dressed again. I think that that's what I love the most about fashion is when people take what is on the runway but really sort of freak it and make it work for them.
Looking at all of those items, all of those trends, all of those pieces, what are you personally interested in for spring?
A lot of the Miu Miu collection, I was like, "Oh, wow. I got to look into my bank account because I want a lot of those pieces."
Photo:COURTESY OF MIU MIU
Those cropped sweaters, I loved. The khaki pants, I loved. I thought she just did a really interesting take on uniform dressing. When I was in high school, my friends had uniforms. I had college friends who had uniforms, and they all had to wear khakis or button-down shirts and that sort of thing. I just thought that she was really smart with the way that she did that.
Photo:COURTESY OF MIU MIU
So let's talk about what you're interested in right now—current trends, current pieces, current wardrobe essentials. Are there any outfit formulas that you really like? Are there any new purchases?
I'm in a very big jewelry phase at the moment. I went to a really beautiful vintage store in Paris, and they had some nice Chanel pieces, so I got a Chanel necklace there.
It's funny, I spend a lot of time browsing through The RealReal. It's not necessarily anything that I will actually end up purchasing, but I find it to be sort of soothing. I have settings saved for Chanel blazers.
I'm always on the hunt for a really great pair of trousers. I think trousers—I mean, you just mentioned that you like don't really wear pants that often—I think because pants are really tricky to design for women just in general. A lot of designers do not get it right and so always on the hunt for a good pair of black pants.
Who makes some of your favorite pants?
I have a pair of Maison Kitsuné black pants that I have been wearing. I wore them all through fashion month because they are the perfect weight, perfect length. They go with literally everything, and those I found just randomly on a market appointment. I was in the store. They're one of my prized possessions. Honestly, I love those pants so much.
What has this year really been like for you? Creating a team, managing a team, leading a team, you know, getting in the swing of things again—what has been the most exciting?
Yeah, I mean, the Beyoncé moment was just so special and wonderful to be a part of on so many levels. First and foremost, obviously, because it's Beyoncé, but I think there's something to be said for coming back to Hearst after being at GQ—which was a wonderful publication, and I really loved the team there—but taking this leap of faith to come back to Hearst and come back to Bazaar.
Working with Samira [Nasr], a woman of color. Myself, a Black woman. Having a Black woman on the cover for our September issue, having it be so well received, being intimately a part of that rollout, it was just so, so meaningful on a bunch of different levels.
That was sort of a great, great thing to happen in the last year. What has also really been special for me in the last year is just being on the forefront of building the sort of team that I wish I had when I was starting out in magazines. Being able to hire people of different backgrounds—whether it's race, finance, and all of that stuff—just being able to create a really wonderfully beautiful, diverse team that is a complement to Samira's print team has just been so special.
The fashion industry, for all of its downfalls, also allows you to create this little world that you want to be a part of. I think it's really special that I was on the sort-of frontlines of creating a space where women, a group of diverse women, can come and work every day and feel like this is a place for them and then also to see themselves reflected on the website.
That makes my heart very happy.
It's just really special. You know, I started working in 2007. I graduated from college, and I was used to being the only Black woman at the brand.
I remember my first job. There were two Black people who worked on the entire floor, which is crazy. Like ad side and magazine side, two Black people. Period.
To be able to remedy that, to be able to change that to make that no longer the case with my team, with Samira's team, is just really wonderful and special. Honestly, something I never really even knew if I would have the chance to do, but I'm really honored to be in this position.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Next up, check out our previous episode featuring Kristen Stewart's stylist, Tara Swennen.