The happy house: At home with fashion designer Emma Hill
Fashion designer Emma Hill’s London home is as playful as her covetable handbags.
You don’t often spot a bubble-gum-pink front door inspired by the children’s book character Barbapapa – complete with googly eyes – let alone in West London’s swanky Holland Park. But as the home’s owner Emma Hill, founder of luxury handbag brand Hill and Friends, says, ‘Life can be too serious!’
Inside the Georgian house that Emma shares with her son Hudson, 13, and French bulldog Bleecker, the fun doesn’t stop at the door. There are more cartoon characters – Snoopy phones and a giant Miffy rabbit lamp – a bright pink laundry room, neon signs, whimsical porcelain and covetable art, plus fashion collections that chart Emma’s career.
Standout one-off items have been impeccably curated and colour-blocked with trademark aplomb. ‘Things have to be the real deal but always high mixed with low – a Hockney print next to a Mr Men figurine, a tuxedo jacket worn with denim, dark walls contrasted with light. To me, that is perfection.’
Having studied fashion design in London, Emma spent 14 years in New York at brands including Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs, designing everything from ‘sharp monochrome suits and stilettos, to slogan tops and glitter roller skates’.
Returning to London, she joined Mulberry in 2007 and, as its creative director, was credited with turning it into the UK’s most covetable designer handbag brand, receiving a CBE for services to British fashion in 2012. After leaving, she launched Hill and Friends in 2015 with Georgia Fendley and has again defined a new standard in handbags – classic styling with a generous dose of fun, value and warmth.
‘In New York, life was about work, studio living and dancing. In London, home is at the centre of everything. I love nothing more than cooking for and spending time with all my favourite people. My parents measured success on how you were valued as a person – that has kept me grounded.’
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