site stats
Kelly Hoppen Reflects on Four Decades of Design |

Kelly Hoppen Reflects on Four Decades of Design

When most of us were getting our driver’s licenses, Kelly Hoppen was already designing homes for high-profile clients. At age 16, the designer embarked on an “awful” kitchen remodel for a friend, and the next year she received her first major break: an overhaul of Formula One race car driver Guy Edwards’s mansion in the Boltons. In the four decades that followed, Hoppen wrote several coffee table tomes, became a design favorite among A-listers like the Beckhams and Sienna Miller, was knighted, and launched a wildly popular assortment of furniture and accessories that reflect her signature East-meets-West aesthetic.

Last year, Hoppen documented her career evolution with a 100-piece collection, aptly named Retrospective, for Resource Decor, and now she’s adding to the extensive lineup. And it’s clear that the queen of taupe has returned to her historical roots with new pieces washed in gray oak and dressed up with glamorous metallic accents. AD caught up with the designer at High Point Market to preview the collection and discuss her design highlights and regrets.


AD: How has your style evolved over the last 40 years?

Kelly Hoppen: The style of my furnishings has gone off in a mine map of different directions over four decades, with different textures, forms, and a slightly more feminine touch. It evolves every day, but there’s a DNA that always remains. There’s still a feel of East meets West, but with a modern edge to it now, which wasn’t there when I started all of those 40 years ago.

A bedroom featuring Hoppen’s designs for Resource Decor.

AD: How did you get your start in design? What was your first project?

KH: A kitchen for a friend and it was awful. But the next job, for Formula One race car driver Guy Edwards, was really the start of my career. By then, I had my own apartment at 17 years old and already had developed my signature style. I was very resourceful at such a young age because there wasn’t such a thing as the Internet or Pinterest and all the tools that young designers have at their fingertips today. Though, I’m glad of that because I was able to create a style that didn’t exist. It was created out of inspiration rather than copying other designers.

AD: What are your top three career highlights?

KH: My first book, East Meets West. That was mega for me. It really put a pole in the ground, solidifying me as a designer with a refreshing new style of global fusion. I felt quite relieved at that moment. Another highlight is winning the first Andrew Martin International Designer of the Year Award. And, lastly, I would say getting my MBE from the Queen of England. That’s a massive accolade, as so few designers have ever received it in Britain. To be honest, there are so many markers of my career, but those are the ones that truly stand out.

AD: You began your Retrospective collection with Resource Decor last year and added new pieces for 2017. Can you describe the aesthetic and thought process behind these latest furnishings?

KH: The collection has evolved with 48 more pieces that are very adaptable to a relaxed lifestyle. One of my favorites is the Soho chair in gray oak and white leather, which is my take on the Hans Wegner Wishbone chair. The Shield console from last year was previously washed in stainless steel and rose gold, but this time we veneered it in gray oak for a more laid-back vibe.

Hoppen’s Calvin dining table and chairs.

AD: How do you take a design concept from decades ago and make it modern in the collection?

KH: I think it’s easy because design doesn’t seem to date anymore. When I grew up, you looked at, say, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and it seemed very old-fashioned. But today we borrow so many elements and eras in fashion and design. Therefore, furniture, certainly the type that I design, prevails.

AD: What advice would you give to designers who are just trying to find their footing in the industry?

KH: I talk to young designers all over the world, and I think it’s important to find your own starting point. And the way to do that is to find a successful designer that you admire and try to learn from them. It’s essential to not only be creative but also possess great styling abilities. Styling is just as important as the actual product, otherwise it becomes incredibly formatted. Ultimately, you have to believe in yourself, but be aware that design is not as easy it seems.

AD: Do you have any design regrets?

KH: None. Absolutely none.

Category: Accessories  Tags: ,  Comments off
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.