Discover the places Katherine goes and how travelling inspires her business in so many ways.
You split most of your time between London, Greece and America. But where's home?
I spend about half the year in London and the other half split equally between Patmos and the States. The travelling can be exhausting but I would truly hate to choose between all three. I grew up in London from the age of 9, I've had a house in Greece since 2005 and I’m American by birth and have more family in the US than I do in the UK, so I call them all home at this point.
Katherine at her house in Patmos, Greece
How do these locations influence your collections?
In the States I have more customer interaction than I do anywhere else and I’m most influenced by my customers.
London is where the team is and I’m very influenced by operations, manufacturing, supplier collections etc.
Patmos is where I am my most creative. It’s where I rest, connect with nature – being here allows me to stop and think and get a good nights sleep! It's where I think about the next collection, have ideas.
What made you fall in love with Patmos?
I first came to Patmos 27 years ago! I wanted to go somewhere quiet, on my own. I’d read about it in a doctor’s waiting room as being a quiet island so I jumped on a plane and came with no plans. I followed the first old lady I saw, in black, on a scooter, holding a sign saying 'rooms for rent' with no idea where she was going to lead me. I got lucky and ended up in the Monastery town of Chora. Patmos immediately felt like home. I got myself a scooter and explored every inch of the island. If an island were a human, it would be Patmos. You instantly feel yourself reflected.
The view from Katherine's house in Patmos
How does your life differ when in London, Greece or America?
London is about work and business, meetings with press, the bank, the factory, checking in with friends and family, a little bit of social. New York and the States is about travel logistics and it’s also very social. I have a lot of friends and family and since I’m not at “home” I’m out in the evenings a lot. Patmos is about everything!
What do you miss when you’re away?
When I’m away from Patmos I miss the air, the light, the nature, the activity. I live in a bay that is the perfect shape of a bowl and I’m in the middle looking right at the sea. There is so much going on in this little valley – a farmer in front of me, doves, sparrows, cockerels, goats, bells, owls, rabbits, grouse and a horse – there is so much noise at night that I have to wear earplugs!
Katherine's house in Patmos
What do you love about travelling? What draws you to a place?
I travelled a lot in my twenties and thirties. I don’t particularly like aimlessly travelling for the sake of it. I really like to have something to do. A purely beach and sunbathing holiday bores me to tears and I haven’t gone on one of those since I was in my early twenties! I used to go to India a lot in my thirties. I have a vague dream to go back when I’m in my sixties because there is a lots to do and a lot to see. Otherwise, for now, London Patmos and the States seem to satisfy all the parts of me.
Where is the most incredible place you’ve ever been to?
Columbia – inland, away from the sea.
What is your favourite restaurant in the world? If we visit what should we order?
Leonidis – a few bays over from where I live in Patmos. Order fresh grilled fish, with tomato and Patmian cheese salad, Saganaki (a flaming fried cheese, which is crispy on the outside, melting on the inside) and boiled octopus with olive oil.
Where do you love to stay?
Most of my travelling is in the States and I’m lucky to have family in every major city. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with them all. Failing that, nothing quite beats a clean comfortable hotel with starched sheets!
What do you always pack when you travel?
Black jeans, plain shirts and the perfect jacket.
What are your tips for packing your coats, jackets and silk dresses so they don’t get damaged in transit?
Nothing beats tissue – except maybe plastic from the dry cleaners – but I hate, hate, hate that we’re all still using plastic so if there is no tissue then I’d rather fold everything inside out, it helps with creases and keeping everything clean.
Do you always overpack or have you perfected the art of the capsule wardrobe?
I have it totally perfected – in fact I under-pack. I work my laundry into my travels and only have a couple of changes of clothes. I really like to travel as light as humanly possible.
Where to next?
Hopefully Japan, Vulcanize London in Japan kindly invited me over after working with them for five seasons. Very annoyingly their event clashed with my trip to the States so I couldn’t swing it – next time for sure!