Not surprising, then, that the personal registration on Kelly’s car should be appropriately themed. Her Fiat sports the number plate T8 UPE. While the regulations don’t permit taupe or beige coloured number plates on UK roads, they do not proscribe ‘platespeak’ representations of the names of colours.
“My boyfriend bought T8 UPE for me. When I was given the Fiat the number just seemed absolutely perfect for the car. People wave and they stop and say, ‘Oh, Kel! Oh, how cute, taupe!’ Even though it’s an 8 everyone still seems to read it as ‘taupe’. So, it was kind of done with tongue in cheek, but it just suits the car. My boyfriend got one for himself too… I can’t remember what it is but he’s in art and it had something to do with art and his name, so that was quite cool. My kids all have number plates too, and we always kind of look down all the [lists of] names and stuff. Actually, I also have another personal number on another car, that one’s KEL for my name.
One recent project did see Kelly move slightly away from her trademark colour scheme. There was comparatively little taupe, beige or mushroom in the clothing designs she did for for Earth Couture. It was there, but it didn’t dominate.
“Yes, we had a collection that went into Harrods. For every piece that’s sold a mosquito coil goes to a child in Africa, which is really great. Every time someone buys something it’s such a great way to actually give to someone else, because people do buy anyway so it’s an easy way – they don’t feel like they’re losing out.”
It’s nice to hear someone in Kelly Hoppen’s position talk about giving to people whose lives are immeasurably harder, but then it should be no surprise. In many of the countries she regularly visits, poverty is a much more conspicuous issue than it is in the UK. Despite her obvious enjoyment of the things that her hard-earned success has brought within her means, Kelly remains in touch with life’s harsher realities. She is a supporter of a number of charities, focusing mostly on organisations that help young people (Prince’s Trust and CLIC Sargent) and those that fight serious illness (AIDS and breast cancer).
No wonder Kelly Hoppen is so famously health conscious. No one who wasn’t firing on all cylinders could sensibly hope to maintain the kind of schedule that she does. Traveling the world in the course of her work, coming up with new design ideas and scaring the life out of aspiring business people for the BBC. It doesn’t look as if there’s too much danger of Kelly getting bored any time soon.
Story: Rick Cadger
Interview: Angela Banh
Photography: Stan Thompson
1 | 2