It’s the ultimate home luxury: your very own dressing room. We asked interior designer Kelly Hoppen and gallerist India Rose James for a peek inside their dreamy dressing spaces. Jealous, us?
‘I’m an organised hoarder’
‘Wardrobe’ simply doesn’t do Kelly Hoppen’s storage system justice. Even ‘dressing room’ feels inadequate when describing the vast, delicious space. So let’s stick with the interior designer’s own word: atelier.
‘It’s my happy place,’ she says of the windowless former hallway in her West London home, which she has transformed into a cornucopia of sleek white shelves, sympathetic lighting and freshly cut flowers topped off with a three-way mirror. ‘You’ve got to see your butt, haven’t you?’ she laughs.
Surprisingly for a woman affectionately dubbed the Queen of Taupe, Kelly’s wardrobe is a fairly colourful affair, albeit one anchored by simple, practical pieces. ‘Most of the time I’m in trainers and comfortable shoes. I’m pretty organised. I get up at 6am, do my meditation, [Kelly’s partner] John and I have coffee, we watch the news and then I work out for an hour. Getting dressed takes no more than 20 minutes. Whether you’re wearing trainers and jeans or glamming up for a date night, it’s an essential part of your day because how you feel is really important.’
A considered shopper, Kelly, 60, who was made an MBE for her services to interior design in 2009, admits to owning ‘a couple of hundred’ pairs of shoes, but is careful to emphasise that at least 70 pairs are vintage. ‘Net-A-Porter and Matches have been my absolute saviours, because I can shop from my bed. I love working, but I’m in the studio every day. Much as I love to go into shops and try things on, I don’t have that luxury.’
She is a generous lender, her favourite benefactors being her daughter Natasha Corrett, her goddaughter Jessye and her stepdaughters Sienna and Savannah Miller. ‘If a friend needs something, I’d 100 per cent say, “Come and borrow it”. I am a hoarder – I don’t like throwing things away. Each one has a story. I collect things, but I give a lot to charity as well. Nor am I afraid of wearing something to a black-tie event and then have the newspapers saying I wore it in 19-whatever. I don’t care.’
Those with less space who want to achieve a similarly Zen-like effect should, Kelly suggests, focus on clever storage and fastidious organisation (it’s no surprise that she’s a fan of Marie Kondo). ‘Rolling knickers and socks, slim hangers, beds with storage underneath,’ are a few of her suggestions. ‘For gloves, hats and tights I use boxes from Muji. I lay scarves flat and colour-coordinate.’
Kelly says she knows how lucky she is. ‘This was a void space that was never going to be used and I saw an opportunity. I’ve never had a closet like this: I’ve only dreamed of it and built them for clients. I don’t feel guilty about it. I’ve worked really hard.’
‘I need to be surrounded by clothes’
India Rose James
Gallerist India Rose James, 28, is not what you’d call a minimalist. Currently renting in London’s Ladbroke Grove while her permanent new home in Mayfair is being renovated (‘I’m right next to a park with a playground, and can walk my dog while my three-year-old daughter Saffi plays on the swings’), India’s wardrobe is that of a typical fashion magpie, a treasure trove of diaphanous gowns, platform sandals and sumptuous fabrics too opulent to be contained within a modest, boxy wardrobe.
Just as some people like to be surrounded by nature, India likes to be surrounded by clothes – and when they are as beautiful as hers, who could blame her? ‘They’re very much spread around my bedroom, as well as the adjoining middle room next to my bathroom,’ she explains. ‘At the end of my bed, I have most of my dresses and nicest clothes, hung up all over the place but colour-coordinated. In my dressing room, I have more everyday wear: jumpers, T-shirts, jeans and summer dresses.’
Drowning in Prada, Gucci and Saint Laurent as she might be, India favours a very practical uniform for day. ‘I usually just wear the same thing: my Acne jeans, Dr Martens boots, some form of band T-shirt and at the moment a Ganni jacket I bought in the sale. I don’t go really crazy. I save that for the evenings.’
She admits she’s quite an emotional hoarder. ‘I still have T-shirts I wore when I was 14. But I need to generate more space, so currently I have about eight bags in my kitchen that have to go to charity, and I also sell a lot on Depop.’ Most heiresses wouldn’t bother punting out their old clothes on a website more commonly used by hard-up students than multimillionaires (India’s late grandfather was the ‘King of Soho’ Paul Raymond, and at 16 she inherited the bulk of his estate, along with her half-sister – at one point they were richer than the Queen). But India strives to live a ‘normal’ life. A canny shopper who loves a bargain (‘I don’t think I’ve ever overpaid for anything’), she does, however, admit to owning 270 pairs of shoes.
‘I am that person all my girlfriends will call if they need to borrow something,’ she smiles. ‘They’ll come over and raid my wardrobe.’ Although after a friend spilled red wine over a pair of her favourite shoes, footwear is now off-limits – with an exception for her daughter Saffi. ‘If she had her way I would be wearing pink fluffy things every single day,’ India says fondly. ‘Saffi is my excuse for keeping everything: it will all be for her once she’s older.’ Eat your heart out, Harper Beckham.
Interview by Laura Craik