Paula Sutton, English Stylist and Writer
Posted on 07 July 2020
This week we talked to Paula, the talent behind the instagram @hillhousevintage. Her dreamy images, stylish interiors, and thoughtful captions are a constant source of inspiration of ours.
Your taste in both clothing and decor is very distinct. Did it take a long time to find your own style?
I've always been into clothes and fashion, and even from a young age, I had a vintage/retro sensibility. I arrived on my first day of university in vintage Jodhpurs, a nipped in mustard tweed jacket and my signature red lipstick! There were a few 'lost' years when I left my career for a new life in the countryside, and struggled with my look. I went into full jumper, wellies and dog walking jeans mode for a while, but I realised that 'dressing up' made me far happier. I think that if anything, I've simply 'grown' into my style.
Who are your style icons?
I have always been inspired by the fashion imagery of the 1950's and early 60's. Also, by vintage Hollywood. If I had to choose specific people, then it would be Dorothy Dandridge, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Lena Horne and Katherine Hepburn.
Paula is wearing the Stephanie Bow Dress
What attracts you to vintage clothing and decor?
I simply love the glamour of it and it suits every shape and figure - particular as one's curves - shall we say 'mature'! I'm also never without my red lipstick as it makes me feel 'dressed' and 'happy', and vintage style clothing is incredibly flattering and forgiving in a way that a t-shirt and jeans rarely is on me!
What was it like working in the fashion industry? What was the most challenging part?
It was fantastic fun. As the Bookings Editor for fashion magazine ELLE UK, my job was more on the production and organising side. I produced all fashion, beauty and cover shoots, and was also in charge of the budgets, so it was a job of many responsibilities. Thankfully, I also had access to the fashion cupboard so that was a bonus -haha! I met some of my best friends during those fabulous days.
How have you gone about curating/finding such unique home decor?
I've lived at Hill House for ten years, and it's been a process that has evolved over time. I'm definitely a 'slow decorator' - happy to wait until the right piece comes along, rather than expecting everything to be finished immediately. I like to slowly savour a room coming together - even if that takes several years!
What inspires the images you take? Do you find yourself thinking about the scenery or the clothing first?
The clothing comes first. I see an outfit and I build a fantasy story around it. For instance, I am a huge fan of blue and white ceramics, so when I first saw the gorgeous Stephanie Bow dress, I immediately thought about an intimate garden supper or cocktail 'date' night, where the theme was blue and white everywhere.
Do you have a go to outfit you wear to boost your mood?
As you can imagine, the weather in England can be very changeable, so I'm often found in tweed, brogues and corduroy in a feminine twist on a rather masculine 'English country gentleman' look. So when I really want a mood booster, I put on a frock - or dress! Dresses make me feel as light as a feather and make me want to dance!!
What are your favorite Mestiza pieces?