World-renowned British designer Kelly Hoppen MBE (that is "Member of the Order of the British Empire"), has pioneered a simple, yet opulent aesthetic that has reached an iconic status. It is no surprise that she has worked on the private residences for an A-list roster of clients who are style makers themselves, including the Beckhams (in L.A.) Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. On the commercial side she has shared her good taste with British Airways first class travelers, Cartier shoppers, and most recently the lucky guests at the Lux* Belle Mare hotel in Mauritius. And, she has not stopped at interior design. Over the years, Kelly has become a force over a number of business areas, including: retailer (furnishings and clothing), author (seven books!), educator (much coveted interior design classes) and innovator. She even has her own iPAD and IPHONE app. It is hard to hone in on all she has accomplished in one short interview. We have tried to hit a few hi-lights. For the details, we will just have to wait for her autobiography ( *wink, wink*--hopefully something she will think about now!).
IC: In your trend report for 2012, you predict a look which is “global fusion with a return to the east- meets-west ideology.” Can you give us some examples from your work?
My upcoming furniture range for Halo has a ying/yang feel - I’m using reclaimed wood mixed with modern lacquers and materials which are the opposite of each other in terms of texture, feel and look as the finish on the furniture will have clean Asian style lines.
Also one of my recent designs for the group LUX* Island Resorts interprets this look, the design features my signature eastern influence base - neutral colours, minimalist setting and the accents of colours and accessories used are influenced by Mauritius where the resort is based.
IC: Your design vocabulary during your early years was characterized by straight lines, strict symmetry and neutral color. Your current work, by your own words, has become “a lot more eclectic” using more vintage pieces, introducing more round and female shapes, splashes of color. As your style continues to evolve, what can we expect to see more of.
My style is constantly being reinvented but the basics of it and the lifestyle that I created when I was very young, works. I think, if something works, don’t break it and it has become a brand now. Obviously a brand evolves, but you always go back full circle. If you look at fashion, its a circle, it keeps going back to the period of time but is just a reinvention of that style because nothing is new. In the future, my work will continue to have Eastern princibles but will also be inspired by nature and different countries and cultures.
IC: You designed the first class cabins for British Airways. Did you design the crew uniforms? If so, how? If not, what fashion designer would you tap?
No I didn’t design the crew uniforms and the fashion designer I would tap is Julian MacDonald who has actually designed for BA before and the uniforms were very stylish. Julian is a fantastic designer with brilliant work ethics and creativity.
IC: When in NY, where do you go to shop and eat?
I shop at Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. I love to eat in a gluton free restaurant on Bleecker Street called Risotteria.
IC: We adore your furniture collections with Halo Styles. What inspired the particular design direction?
My Halo collection is inspired by vintage pieces. I love having something modern with something old but doing it with a twist. I love working with a neutral palette of natural colours and then adding a splash of colour such as red or orange as an accent. The collection is an interesting eclectic mix of vintage pieces.
IC: You have crossed over to fashion with your collection for Earth Couture (wish we could buy it here in the states, btw). Are there any interior design principals that you applied in designing this line?
When I started designing for Earth Couture, I realised that it’s the same part of the brain but just a different medium. Just like with my interior designs, quality materials are the base of all that I do with Earth Couture and, with regards to colour, the collection starts with the neutral basics and I then add flashes of colour, exactly like my interiors! The main difference is that when designing clothes you put materials against a body so you can manipulate it and move it instantly.Whereas, when you’re designing an interior, its all in your mind and on paper and its not until you go in and install it that you really see how it will look and can change it around.
IC: We understand that a portion of the proceeds of sales from Earth Couture have been earmarked to improve the lives of children in Africa by providing families with coils to prevent life threatening malaria. How can we encourage more companies to engage in a greater degree of corporate social responsibility-as you have?
By talking about it as much as possible in interviews and when meeting business people - raising awareness is key to making people feel a sense of responsibility towards society and the rest of the world.
IC: We applaud the fact that you have embraced the digital world and social media platforms: Twitter, FaceBook (even in China) and your own Blog and iPHONE and iPAD App. How has this helped you in the way you do business?
It has made me feel closer to my customers and fans... I have a very loyal online community. Being spread across all these social media platforms means I have direct dialogue and feedback from fans and customers so its really encouraging for me.
IC: You refer to your most recent book (#7)-with a forward by Victoria Beckham- , IDEAS, as your little black book of ideas and advice. Are there any tidbits you can share with our readers.… just to whet our appetite.
My book is really a guide in explaining how to turn a concept into reality and giving you the know-how to make informed decorating decisions and think beyond the obvious solutions.
IC: Your five-day design program in London sounds too good to be true. We heard that you did a version in HK Shanghai and Singapore. Can we look forward to you bringing it to the US?
Well I’m actually working on an online version of the school which will be accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. However, I do hope to bring my weekly course to the US very soon.
IC: How would you describe your personal style.
Calm, balanced and timeless - my style is all about creating calm balanced environments based on Eastern cultures, ie order and creation of harmony. Throughout all of my projects my design ethos remains the same, fusing elements of eastern and western principles with neutral tones and a vast array of textures
IC: What is your most prized possession? My daughter is the most precious thing in my life.
IC: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
Bacarrat, they have the most incredible archive of products and I would love to do something groundbreaking with them.