Accessories designer Eddie Harrop tells Kate Freud all about the delights of motherhood, her love of travel and finding a new kind of contentment
When I first meet Eddie Harrop in the spacious kitchen of her London home, her fresh complexion and boundless energy belie any sleepless nights she may have suffered at the hands of her eight-month-old daughter, Xenia. “Thankfully she sleeps through the night now,” Eddie explains. “I remember my mum always said it would happen eventually, but I am so relieved to have turned that corner!”
And life as a new mum is clearly suiting her. “It’s definitely a change compared to my old life, but I’m learning to adapt,” Eddie says, having spent many years living in the Far East during her twenties. “Now Xenia is older, we’ve found our groove in this topsy-turvy but rewarding new world,” she laughs.
Eddie was fortunate enough to have an easy pregnancy, though she is well aware the novelty may wear off second time around. “I was lucky as I didn’t suffer from very bad morning sickness. I found, in general, there is a purity in being pregnant – it’s very balancing not to have a hangover for nine months!”
When Xenia was just a couple of months old, Eddie and her husband, Rory, took the opportunity to head to LA. “We rented a flat in Venice for two months while Rory [who works in PR] was doing some film work. I had meetings with American stockists, and we managed to squeeze in a trip to Miami and the Caribbean. It was an incredible experience.”
It was one of many adventures the couple has enjoyed over the years; they first met at a London PR firm where Rory was Eddie’s boss. She was fresh out of the London College of Fashion and working her first internship. They stayed in touch after she left the company, and got together before taking a break for a few years when Eddie headed to Asia. It was during this time of extensive travel that Eddie decided she wanted to create a range of travel bags to match the style stakes of your handbag. “I had seen so many pieces of dreary hand luggage, I wanted to produce what was essentially a ‘cool carry-on’,” she says. The results – now stocked everywhere from Net-a-Porter to Harvey Nics – are luxury, textured leather bags, complete with tassels. They’re so good-looking you’re guaranteed to garner more than a few admiring glances on your travels.
While she was away, Eddie and Rory stayed in touch, and when they got together the second time round they knew that was it. “We got married in 2015, in Morocco, at the Jnane Tamsna hotel, which was just beautiful,” Eddie recalls.
The pair recently moved to Putney, leaving behind their cosy Chelsea pied-à-terre. “We loved our flat, but with five flights of stairs and one bedroom, it proved totally impractical once Xenia came along. The poor baby was having to sleep in the corridor before we moved!” Living near the river now gives them plenty of scope for outdoor adventures, and not only that, they are enjoying more indoor space in which to grow as a family. “Xenia is quite a personality,” Eddie says. “Only a month ago she could hardly sit up and now she is terrorising the dog, charging around the kitchen in her baby walker!”
It’s clear to see Eddie is delighting in her new surroundings too, and the chance to put her hand to another passion of hers – interiors. Her love of the exotic is reflected in the eclectic interiors of their home, which, against a neutral backdrop, has an otherworldly feel, with vivid splashes of colour and unusual furniture. Eddie says, “Many of the pieces I acquired when I was in Saigon. A friend of mine set up The Lacquer Company and I love our scalloped tray which he made in collaboration with Rita Konig.”
Other decorative pieces come from Forwood Design, which makes pieces like the beautiful backgammon board that has been artfully placed in the living room. “The company also made the silver bamboo dining chairs which I covered with grey palm-print fabric from Saigon Pattern House. I also adore Julian Chichester furniture – we have a few of his lamps and mirrors.”
On the walls are pieces by Eddie’s uncle, the artist William Harrop, Gilbert & George and Alessandro Kokocinski. Xenia’s nursery has a mix of pictures by illustrator Susannah Garrod, handpainted initials from The Letter Bug and a beautiful handwoven Thai bath mat, which Eddie framed for the wall.
With so much going on, it’s obvious the exhaustion of early motherhood hasn’t affected her go-getting nature. “I get up at 6am to feed Xenia, then I’ll put her in with Rory so I can do some exercise. I’ve recently started British Military Fitness in the park and although it’s painful finding the motivation, I’m always pleased when I have.” The nanny arrives at 9am, when Eddie heads over to her Fulham offices. I try to get back to Xenia after her afternoon nap and then work the rest of the day from home.”
So what does 2018 have in store for Eddie Harrop, the brand and the woman behind it? “We’ve launched a hat range, now I’m designing new pieces for our cruise collection, and personally, I’m looking forward to my cousin’s wedding in Cape Town next year, where Xenia and I will be bridesmaids. It’s going to be pretty special.” One of many adventures to come, we’re sure.
Photography: Helene Sandberg
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