Kathy Hilton’s name has been synonymous with style and elegance for decades. Whether it’s a red carpet event or out running errands, Kathy is always fashion forward. A few years ago she decided to make a collection of dresses for women of all ages, shapes and sizes. In January of 2012 Kathy made her dress line debut at The Coterie in New York City. Shortly after the collection was picked by Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms. Now, you can find the Kathy Hilton dress collection in more than 300 stores around the world. I first met Kathy Hilton in the summer of 2011 at her daughter Paris’s premiere party for her Oxygen reality show The World According to Paris, which Kathy starred in as well. Now Kathy opens up to me about the inspiration behind her line, her famous family and whether she’ll ever do reality television again.
HL: How did your dress line come about? What made you want to get into the fashion world at this point in your career?
KH: I’ve always loved fashion and growing up with sisters, we always enjoyed clothing. When Mon Cheri approached me with this, I was like wow this is very exciting! I thought about it and I realized this could really be wonderful, as long I went about it the right way. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel and wear beautiful clothing by designers from all over the world.
Now it’s become expensive to buy dresses for going out. With all of the events that I go to and with the economy the way it is, I thought that making my own collection would be a great way for me to develop a line of dresses for my daughters, my nieces, my sisters, my friends, myself and women all over the world.
HL: What are some of the price points of your dress collection?
KH: They start at about $350 and go up to $550.
HL: Who is the Kathy Hilton customer?
KH: I think the Kathy Hilton customer is somebody that appreciates beautiful quality, and wants to feel very feminine and confident. She can buy something and not have to spend a million dollars to look good.
HL: Where can people buy your dresses?
KH: They are available at Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom’s. And about 300 special occasion stores around the world.
HL: How long has your collection been out?
KH: It started shipping about six or seven months ago. We debuted the collection at the Coterie in New York City back in January. We had a beautiful booth set up. It was an honor to be included; they don’t take everyone their first year so I really enjoyed being there. I was there from the early morning till the booth closed.
HL: That’s incredible growth.
KH: Thank you
HL: You are an active philanthropist; you have a successful dress line and a big family. Have you been busier than ever?
KH: I am very busy. I love to be busy! I love to have a million things to do. If everything is too organized or too perfect, I get bored. I do try to take a Monday to stay home and get everything together. But yes, I keep busy.
HL: There was a picture of Kim, Kyle, Paris and yourself all wearing dresses from your collection. That picture says it all. Four women of various shapes and sizes. It’s a testament to how versatile your line is.
KH: Thank you so much. I thought that would be a fun way to do the Extra show. That’s exactly what I had in mind. I wanted to show case that they are great for a range of ages.
HL: I want to shift gears a bit and talk about your family. What’s it been like to watch the success of your sisters Kyle and Kim Richards on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? They have become very famous from the TV show.
KH: I’m not a TV person or a movie person. I think Beverly Hills people make for interesting television. I figured it would be successful. I watched the first season. People love to be a fly on the wall. There is certainly an appetite for it and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. But I knew the show would be successful.
HL: Could you ever see yourself doing the The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills?
KH: I don’t think so (pauses)…no I don’t think I would.
HL: Many people associate your daughter Paris with putting reality television on the map. Her show The Simple Life was a smash hit show for many seasons. Have any of your other children thought about doing a reality television show?
KH: Not right now. Everyone is busy with different projects, maybe if the right thing came along but not right now.
HL: How proud are you of your daughters? Paris and Nicky have are accomplished businesswomen. Paris’s fragrances have generated a billion dollars and counting. Nicky has a successful jewelry line. How does it feel to watch them grow and succeed in their various endeavors?
KH: I’m very very proud. But more than that, they are nice girls. I see some people enjoy a little success and they change, they’re not nice to fans etc. People get very caught up and it’s upsetting to see that. I love the way they’ve kept their feet on the ground. They both work very hard, sometimes traveling close to 300 days a year.
HL: How about your two younger sons Conrad and Barron? Do they want to get into the entertainment industry?
KH: Barron is in film school and interning with Sophia Coppola, He loves directing, he’s very passionate about that. Conrad is in high school, he skateboards, he has his friends and he just went to prom not too long ago. I just got the pictures back from that; I’m excited about that. I’ve been running around getting him shoes like crazy, it seems like his feet are growing every month or two! Conrad I think is more interested in getting into business on the real estate, or Wall Street.
HL: What would say are some of the biggest misconceptions about you and your family?
KH: Well perception is not always reality. That is for sure. Were just like any other family, we have our disagreements sometimes. We spend a lot of quality time together, with BBQ’s, cooking together, we hike together etc. I’m kind of the one that everybody comes too and I do love it. I’m like the little psychiatrist. My sisters and I, we all mother each other, now that my mother is gone. We are all very close with our nieces and nephews.
My mother was the closest person in the world to me. She taught my sisters and I really good values. She was young enough to spend time with all of our children. Unfortunately she passed away from breast cancer about nine years ago. We were taught to be grateful, to be humble, to be nice, to make an effort and to give back.