I am so thrilled to share this interview with beautiful Kate Halfpenny of Halfpenny London. She is such an inspiration and has made not only her own dreams come true, but the dreams of the countless brides she’s designed for over the years.
Not just one of Britain’s most successful bridal designers, she’s also a superstar stylist and her clients list reads like a who’s who of the fashion glitterati.
She is a trusted stylist and friend to British icons such as Kate Moss, Erin O’Connor and Emilia Fox amongst many others.
But what draws me to her most, is the fact that she so obviously just loves women and designs for all of us, not just supermodels.
Her designs are so spectacularly beautiful and unforgettable that I still vividly remember the dresses that she gave an overview of in an episode dedicated to her brand on a show on Wedding TV that I watched about ten years ago!
I always keep up to date with her latest collections and she never fails to wow me.
Read on for an insight into this gorgeous creatures world, her background, her journey ahead, her brand, her own wedding and most importantly, her best job yet – mummy to baby Sylvester!
MM: Tell us how it all began? When did you realise fashion was the world you belonged in?
KH: I was always obsessed with fashion as a child. My mum was a knitwear designer so I was surrounded by creativity… it was a done deal.
MM: What were your biggest challenges along the way?
KH: I grew up in Derbyshire where getting your hands on the latest issue of Vogue was exciting. We didn’t have the resources that you have now with the internet and social media so to physically come to London was the most exciting and inspiring. So ultimately, being away from the centre of the universe (London!) was my biggest challenge.
MM: Did you ever doubt you’d make it, or did you know that you would achieve great things?
KH: I don’t have a negative attitude… it’s about do or die. I knew I didn’t want to work for anyone else, and have been blessed to work for myself for the last 20 years. The speed my bridal brand is growing at is incredible. I do feel so lucky and there isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful…
MM: Your work has involved styling high-end editorial, TV commercials and celebrity styling, as well as the bridal design and creation. How on earth do you juggle these different areas of fashion?
KH: Since having Sylvester my son in August of last year, life has dramatically changed. I was a workaholic before. I couldn’t say no. I juggled so many jobs and loved it, thrived on the adrenaline. Now I am much more selective. My priority is Sylvester and my bridal company, that keeps me busy enough right now.
MM: Appearing on TV as both fashion presenter and stylist, you have worked alongside Mary Portas on Mary Queen of Shops, The Lorraine Show, Chic Fix for Sky and reported live on the Royal Wedding for BBC America. What’s been your favourite television experience?
KH: I love Mary Portas. She’s an inspiration. She really does know what she’s doing in business, so I have to say she is the one, plus she’s so supportive and was so kind when I was such an amateur TV star! haha!
MM: Would you like to do more television work in the future?
KH: I love doing TV work, so for sure I would consider it again.
MM: As an editorial stylist you’ve worked on some of the top style publications, including covers for the likes of Vanity Fair. What was it like to hold your cover of Vanity Fair? Was it one of your biggest “pinch me” moments?
KH: I never get told when things are going to print, so I’m always shocked when I see it on a news stand, or I am flicking through a mag and see something, or the TV commercial comes on TV and there are my costumes. I always feel so proud to work with such epic teams and stars. That’s the pinch me moment.
MM: You’ve worked with, and dressed, icons such as Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, Twiggy, Cheryl Cole, Kate Moss, Emilia Fox and loads more. Can you choose a favourite celebrity styling experience?
KH: Every experience has it’s different highs, so I couldn’t choose one specific moment, however it was fun dressing Kate for her birthday party. I made her dress in four different colours and changed her every hour into a different coloured version of the original. FUN!
MM: Who do you think is the ideal Halfpenny London Bride?
KH: We have something for everyone here at the boutique. We have such a diverse collection, which I think is due to my years of styling. There isn’t a single bride that we couldn’t accommodate, no matter the style or body shape, a big wedding or a little wedding, a city wedding or a cathedral. We can do it!
MM: What tips would you give to brides going dress shopping?
KH: Don’t take too many people with you as it can be overwhelming. Also, don’t take pictures when you’re trying on, it’s about the emotional connection when you’re in the dress. Go back and retry rather than deciding from these terrible phone pics.
MM: What can brides expect when they visit Halfpenny London?
KH: A gorgeous styling experience which ultimately ends in you finding your dream dress!
MM: You are married. How on earth did you choose a dress design?! What was it like to be the client? Did you feel a lot of pressure?
KH: It was pretty hard as the choice was immense, however it just evolved. It was meant to be covered in lace and when we mocked up the dress I loved the graphic shape and the simplicity of the duchess silk. I did add the lace though, with a broad lace edged spotty veil.
MM: What was your wedding day like? I imagine being a bride was even more surreal for you than most!
KH: It was epic. The best day of my life up until I had Sylvester. It was so full of love and all my favourite people in one place. What more could anyone ask for?
MM: How do you relax?
KH: By looking at books, interior blogs, and Right Move. I’m obsessed with houses. I love a project. I have renovated three houses now… roll on the next one!
MM: What has been your proudest moment? Personally or professionally?
KH: Giving birth to my son, he was our little miracle baby, 5 years of trying and IVF. He is magic. Professionally opening the boutique in 2013.
MM: What are your dreams for the future?
KH: To continue to grow the brand and continue to have the quality and love and care we have for all our brides.
Thanks so much to the lovely Kate! We loved having you. X
Connect with Kate Halfpenny