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Kate Middleton's Coat Maker Tells Us Why She's Excited to Be in the Bay Area This Weekend

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Katherine Hooker's exquisitely-tailored jackets look chic in Manhattan and they would be just as at home among the rustic grapevines of Sonoma. That versatility is just one reason the Dutchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa adore Hooker's custom-made jackets.

If you're in the Bay Area, you can get a first hand look at Hooker's gorgeous handiwork during two trunk shows on Friday and Saturday this week. The designer will see potential clients in Hillsboro from 10am to 4pm on Friday April 19, and from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, April 20 in Palo Alto (email info@katherinehooker.com for details). She's particularly excited about the trip because the Londoner's parents and grandparents hail from here.

"I grew up hearing about that area my whole life," Hooker told us. "One of the fancies I had when I first started the business was to reconnect to that part of my heritage—my parents and grandparents."

We chatted with Hooker in advance of her Bay Area visit to learn how her coat obsession has led to a dedicated royalty and celeb following—for which she's grateful. But when it comes down to it, she's all about the designs.

Tell us a bit more about your coats and jackets?

Our strongest season is defnitely fall/winter, and that's mainly what we do. Not that we're season specific. Because we have our things custom made, you can have what you want when you want it. We do have linens and silks so we cover all the seasons, as it were. Our spring and summer line is really growing as well.

We can always use a good multi-season jacket in the Bay Area.

Yes it's a bit like England, the weather is unpredictable. Keeping wearm or cool is a daily challenge. We have exceptional possibilities for making things in so many different ways, so we can pretty much cover it all.

How did the Middleton sisters come to be such big fans?

Kate came to me at a retail fair when I started my business. She saw a coat that she liked and wore it to the races—that was almost nine years ago now. She looked fantastic in it and she just kept coming back for other things. Pippa was most recently in the Tori coat in yellow. That one, for example, you'll be able to order at the trunk show.

She's a very valued customer as all my customers are. They're lovely girls and it's exciting when they wear my stuff. But we have lots of really exciting people wearing our stuff. I get very excited when anyone buys something. I'm so focused on the actual product—I'm just obsessed with the product. When anyone is wearing a coat I have a critical eye. It's all I can think about.

Your coats seem to be very figure flattering.

My aim is definitely to flatter, that's for sure. We all want to be 10 pounds thinner, that's what I always think. Most people say that when they put on one of my jackets that they feel much better than they normally do.

What are some of you favorites from your fall 2013 collection?

I love the Baseball jacket, the pale gray and yellow. And I love the Jackson coat in the black, as well as the new Hacking jacket. I wear the Baseball coat a lot. The new Nelson coat is really nice too. The Hacking jacket is perfect for San Francisco.

How often to you introduce new designs?

I introduce two to six new things per year. I'm very much about essential clothing. I love the idea of a jacket that lasts forever in terms of style. It's that classic, timeless look that I'm after. It can go wth anything and with any person—any lifestyle or age. It's that clothing that you throw on that pulls it all together. It's not a trend.

Do you feel like fashion in general is steering away from fast fashion and more towards timelessness?

I do feel like fashion is getting a bit more classic. People are thinking about the longevity of style and it feels like there's more shelf life in style than there was. I just spent the entire day on a plane so I looked through a lot of magazines. A lot of it's about styling and the lifestyle that they create through the design in addition to the actual design.

I think with so much going on in the world with the economics and so much confusion and distrust around investments and that sort of thing people are more drawn towards somthing they can trust—a piece of clothing that's going to last. I get really upset when I buy a shirt on High Street and wash it and it's about to fall apart. It's one thing off your list if you've got something on that's good quality. It makes you feel a little bit more like you can handle the world. It does mean it's going to be more expensive, and there's no getting around that, but hopefully people think it's worth it. I do for sure.

Who are some of your favorite designers?

I love Jill Sander, Bottega Venetta, Chanel is always amazing Hermes—they always get it right. I love the shop in Paris, it's incredible. I also love Donna Karan, she never disappoints.

When you started your brand, which designers inspired you?

I was inpsired by Ralph Lauren. I thought of him a lot when I started because he creates a world around his line which, coming from the film industry, I definitely like to do as well. I start with the environment, and then the girl and dress her up. I'm as inspired by architecture as I am clothing. The poetry of movement in a space is very much the same thing as clothing to me. Ralph Lauren has always loved to create a world and I love to do that too. He has really stuck to his guns.

Do you create a world for your entire brand or per collection?

I would say per collection. We are very dictated by our shoots. We do two shoots, two seasons. That's my fashion week, as it were. The look is very inspired by the location. The last one was in New York City and I think the product fits beautifully. I was so excited when we looked at everything, I thought, "We cannot possibly fail, we can only succeed with this collection." The yellow Tori coat and the gray contrast coat—I have them in my mind almost 24 hours per day.

Then the previous shoot was in Suffolk in a very ancient part of England and (the clothing) looks amazing there, too. To have a product that's so easily transportable in that way shows to me that they transcend fashion in a way.
· Katherine Hooker [Official Site]