Kate Middleton’s Favorite, Katherine Hooker

You know I love all things royal! One our SB co-founders, Liza Graves, talked to this London designer recently, and I just had to share her interview with you all today. Enjoy! — Heidi

 

English designer Katherine Hooker launched her collection in 2003. Her expertly tailored coats quickly gained a fan following. That base of fans grew exponentially with one certain fan who wears Katherine Hooker pieces with regal style. Yes, Kate Middleton, now known as the Duchess of Cambridge since her vows to Prince William, has an affinity for these coats. Up until three years ago, each coat was made to order. Now, there are a few ready-to-wear options, but most continue to be made to order in London.

 

(all images linked to original sources)

Katherine Hooker in her London boutique. Image courtesy of Telegraph.co.uk

 

The exciting news for those of us who live on this side of the pond is that Katherine Hooker has American trunk shows. In the next few weeks, you can see this collection in person and purchase your very own coat or jacket in Nashville, Atlanta or Dallas. They are not cheap, mind you, but if you are willing to pay for a Burberry, then you may want to check out an upcoming show. And, since you can have the coat made to order, it will fit better than any other coat you own.

We caught up with Katherine to find out more about her, her collection, what to expect at her trunk shows and to find out if Kate Middleton is just as fabulous as we all think she is!

Check out how Kate tailored this Katherine Hooker coat for a new look below.

 

Now, it’s above the knee!

 

Another Katherine Hooker creation.

 

The Alexander jacket

 

Your coats are beautiful and have a lean, flattering silhouette. What is the secret to your tailoring?

Neat shoulders, high armholes and well set-in sleeves.

Up until a few years ago, your coats were made to order exclusively. With some styles now available ready-to-wear, how has that expanded your brand?

The product is now more available to people who live further afield and who we haven’t managed to reach yet. And, of course, the ready-to-wear collection is easier on the wallet. I am passionately committed to making the product as accessible as possible while not compromising on quality and service. The RTW collection has really helped with this goal, and it’s great to see coats and jackets going to places I haven’t even heard of!

Nashville’s own Taylor Swift has fallen for Katherine Hooker’s coats.

 

Taylor Swift promotes her new album, RED, in Paris, wearing a Katherine Hooker coat.

If someone wants a made-to-order style, must they visit your London shop or a trunk show, or can they work with a local tailor to provide measurements?

Visiting the shop or coming to the shop is good because then you can make sure of size. However, we are doing more and more of what we call “remote orders” and yes, a local tailor is advisable. We are building up quite a stable of them all around the UK and the US. The amazing thing about the remote orders is they are almost 100% trouble free! We are also working on a “create your own jacket” online service where you can click on swatches to get the best combination.

Nashville is excited you are coming! Are you hosting in other trunk shows in the South soon?

Yes, Dallas and Atlanta. For details on dates and time please visit http://katherinehooker.com/how-to-buy/trunk-shows/usa-trunk-show-cities/.

The “Jackson”

What can someone expect at a Katherine Hooker trunk show?

You can expect to find between 60 and 100 samples representing our most popular styles in 5 sizes in this years fabric collection. You will also find a two – four person team on hand to guide you through the process of choosing the best style and fabric combination for coats and jackets made uniquely for you.

The “Cape”

Your menswear coat, just introduced this year, is quite handsome. Has it been well embraced, and when do you foresee adding more to the menswear collection?

The menswear has been long awaited in the UK, where we finally launched one jacket this fall. It’s gone fantastically well and we are getting ready to add two jackets and a coat to the collection which we will be launching in the US this fall.

How many coats and jackets do you personally own?

About 15!!

Was there a life moment that made you decide to focus on coats?

Yes. When I took on the challenge to design exactly what I wanted, and made it to fit me, during one of my travels in India. I was looking for a change in direction and, although I am a “worker” and I enjoyed my life in the film industry, I had never in my adult working life experienced a true love of what I was doing. From that time on I refused to let go.

The “Westcott”

Are all your fabrics made in England?

Almost all the tweeds are made in England and Scotland. This season we’ve added four beautiful Italian wools to the collection.

With your collection sewn in England, it has me wondering if there is a large movement for “Made in England” like there is in the States for “Made in the USA” ?

The reason I make in England is because I like having a solid relationship with the manufacturers. I believe it shows in the product and how the brand is evolving. It makes logical sense to me to support the local economy while having better control over quality. This is why I am starting to research manufacturers in the States.

The “Daisy” waistcoat (Americans, that means vest!)

Is there a difference that you see between British and American style? If so, can you elaborate on what that difference is?

That is a really interesting question and one that continually fascinates me. If I had to be specific I would say that American women are sharper in their style. I think American women are generally more focused.

With your American trunk show schedule, what has been your biggest surprise?

I think the biggest surprise has been how much I love what I’ve seen of the country. I am 100% American by parentage and passport, although I grew up in Africa and the UK. I wouldn’t change my past for anything, but it’s always been a dream to do something that connects me to the States, and this has been beyond my wildest dreams.

The “Patmos”

I’m sure everyone has asked you what Kate Middleton is like (and we all hope to look just like her in one of your coats!). So, we also need to ask, “Is Kate as lovely in person as she seems?”

I first met Kate in 2005. She was as lovely and genuine a person then as she is now.

London seems to be hotter than hot as far as style, music, art, food and travel. For anyone reading who has a London trip planned, can you give us some insight into your suggestions for dinner reservations and perhaps an off-the-beaten-path attraction?

The best day out I had recently was with my boyfriend, to an all-day cultural feast at the Tate Modern followed by an incredible dinner at one of London’s best Spanish restaurants, Brandisa, which is about a 10 minute walk from the Tate.
Lastly, what is the best piece of advice you have been given for business?

Keep it simple!

 

Thank you, Katherine! For more information, visit her website: http://katherinehooker.com.

 

If you would like to come to the Nashville trunk show:

At the home of Francie Likis
4530 Everett Drive
Nashville,TN 37215

Tuesday, November 27, 2012
9.30 a.m. – 7.30 p.m.

 

If you would like to go to the Atlanta trunk show:

Hosted by Tisa Moore
3303 Pinestream Road NW
Atlanta, GA 30327

Tuesday, December 4, 2012.
10am – 7pm

 

If you would like to go to the Dallas trunk show:

Hosted by Elements
4400 Lovers Lane
Dallas, TX 75225

Friday, November 30 – Saturday, December 1, 2012
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cocktail reception on Friday, November 30th from 3 -6 p.m.