Date: 19 October 2003
Originally published in: Sunday Express Magazine (UK)
From stage costumes to combat trousers, the pop star turned garden guru enjoys a world of choice.
Rock diva Kim, 42, is famous for such Eighties hits as ‘Kids in America’, ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ and ‘Cambodia’. She’s now also a garden designer and writer and has presented ITV’s ‘Better Gardens’ and the BBC’s ‘Garden Invaders’. She lives in a converted barn in Hertfordshire with her husband, actor Hal Fowler. The couple have two children, Harry, 5, and Rose, 3. In December Kim will be taking part in a UK tour with Eighties bands including ABC and Heaven 17.
How would you describe your style?
It’s all over the place, basically. I have never thought of myself as a particularly stylish lady as far as clothes are concerned. All my girlfriends seemed to do it a lot better than I did, and still do. When I get it right it’s fantastic, but that’s more by luck than judgment.
What colours and styles suit you best?
I know what is flattering on me – I look good in casual clothes like jeans and T-shirts. When I go for something more stylish, I tend to wear black. I like something a bit rock and roll about the way I dress, which is the only thing I can legitimately get away with. Bias cuts really suit me, as I’ve got quite womanly hips and a nice J-Lo bum. I’m just relieved that her bum has become so fashionable, because I had that for years and hated it.
I like denim a lot – I think it’s a great material – and I like wearing earth colours like burgundy, plum, dusky rose and brown.
What is your favourite outfit?
My Freesoul denim dress, because it makes me look so slim. When I saw it hanging up, I didn’t even have to try it on because I knew it would fit well.
What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe?
I used to have a £ 700 Azzedine Alala suit that I bought from his shop in Paris, but these days I don’t tend to have any very expensive clothes.
Do you own anything vintage?
I’ve got a sheer Biba evening coat that belongs to my mum. During the Seventies she used to take us to Biba a lot. I have wonderful childhood memories of this glamorous place full of peacock feathers, velvet and leopard skin. It was a wonderful environment.
When in doubt, which outfit do you turn to?
My Freesoul dress.
Have you ever made a fashion faux pas?
Plenty of times. There was a period in the Eighties when someone decided that I needed to be revamped. So they gave me a total makeover to try and get people interested in me again. They got me into these Lycra suits that had bright patches of turquoise and lime-green in them. I look back at the pictures now and those suits are just embarrassing.
What is your best fashion bargain?
My brown coat with the brown velvet collar that I bought at an antiques shop many, many years ago. I’ve had it since I was 20 years old and love it to bits. It is such a fantastic coat but it only cost me about £15.
Have you ever had anything made to measure?
Over the years I have. I first saw my wedding dress in a shop in Covent Garden. I spotted it long before Hal proposed to me. I remember thinking, “What a fabulous dress”, because it was so simple. When he proposed, I thought – ding – “I know the dress I’m going to have”. It teams up brilliantly with the shoes I got from Gamba.
Do you wear G-string or briefs?
Both. I find G-strings really sexy. I try and make myself wear them.
Which clothes do you feel most comfortable in?
I love wearing my gardening clothes – a cardigan by Fenn Wright Mason that I wear with combat trousers and Timberland work boots. There’s also a lovely blue top with a red rose motif by DKNY. Then I have a black, furry coat that Hal calls my “pop-star” coat. And when I’m performing, I slip into my Silvio coat as soon as I get offstage.
How much do you spend on clothes each month?
Once a year I go to Brent Cross and splash out. Then I will pay several hundred pounds for the jeans or the dresses I’ll need for the year.
Which outfit makes you feel most sexy?
I feel quite sexy in my Freesoul denim dress. You can zip it down and have some cleavage showing. And it has a split at the front, so you can also show a bit of leg.
Do you wear silver or gold jewellery?
I haven’t got that much jewellery. There’s my Alvin Stardust ring that I wear on stage, some chains that people have bought me as presents and the moonstone necklace I wore on my wedding day. The rest of it is old tat. My children raid my jewellery box and break everything. If I wear it, they start pulling it off, so I have given up on jewellery. I appreciate other people’s jewellery, but I am amazed that they can be bothered to put on bracelets and things like that.
What item of clothing couldn’t you live without?
I have a very old pair of Miss Selfridge wedges. First thing in the morning I have a compulsion to put them on. And when I go to bed, I put them on to take off my make-up and clean my teeth. They are quite sexy to walk around in when you are naked.
When did you last feel underdressed?
I’ve just had a surprise hit in Germany. I went over to do some promotional work and talk to MTV and do their chart show, their version of ‘Top of the pops’. I was walking through Heathrow on my way to being a pop star, but I didn’t feel like one. So I dived into a sunglasses shop and asked for a pair that would make me look like a pop star. They sold me some Gucci ones that are very glam.
What item of clothing would you save from a burning house?
My brown coat. I keep meaning to have it copied. It is irreplaceable.