“She’s very smart in the way she’s positioning the collection,” said Colleen Sherin, senior fashion director of Saks Fifth Avenue. “She understands the realities of what many women can spend on eveningwear.”
Hilton’s ambitions are not limited to clothing. She also has her eye on bedding, furniture, costume jewelry and more.
It’s not such a stretch. In the 1980s and early ‘90s, Hilton, who grew up in L.A. and started acting at an early age, had her own gift and antiques store called the Staircase on Sunset Plaza. She’s sold home accessories on QVC and skin care products on HSN. And she is a decorating freak, as evidenced by the holiday wonderland in her home.
She’s had the tree up in the TV room since before Thanksgiving. “I like adding personal touches,” she said, pointing out the baby shoes (her own) hanging on the tree with the ornaments. “We spend most of our time in here. We like to have the fire on and have dinner on TV trays. Everyone always wants to know about the TV trays. Frontgate makes the best ones. In burlwood.”
“People like her. She’s high society but at the same time down to earth,” said Evelyn Anastos, president of the Kathy Hilton Collection, who has worked 25 years in the apparel market for brands such as Marc Bouwer and Adrianna Papel. When it comes to special occasion wear, “lines are either very prom, or very mother-of-the-bride. We didn’t want to be either of those. We wanted the focus to be on a designer-level product,” she said, adding that the collection has done $2 million in sales its first year, which is on track with her projections.
So what are the Hiltons planning for Christmas? A trip to Palm Beach, for one — but not until the 26th. Christmas morning, mother Hilton likes to make a big brunch for family and friends at home.
“I love to decorate the table and put garlands around the food,” she said, sounding very Martha Stewartish. “I use little pomegranates or nuts, and spray paint them gold or silver, and tiny bouquets of flowers that I tie with pieces of velvet or ribbon that I collect.”
And being at home is no excuse for looking sloppy. On Christmas Day, Hilton is in a cocktail dress. Because, she said, “I like to get dressed!”