Kate Hudson calls me from LA. I imagine her sitting on the terrace of her California home, perhaps sipping cucumber water and picking at a paleo salad as her angelic children play quietly around her. She shatters the vision immediately: she is caught in traffic, ‘Stuck behind a garbage truck.’
Nevertheless, she is patient and polite, immediately asking me how I am and, more importantly, if it’s raining in London. I tell her that, miraculously, it is not, and she is thrilled: she is scheduled to fly into the capital in a few days to host the launch of her new fashion brand, HappyXNature. Kate is so infectiously chipper, her tone so unerringly perky, that I don’t have the heart to tell her when it begins to pour down a few minutes into our conversation. HappyXNature (the x is pronounced ‘by’, as in 4x4) is Kate’s passion project, a new sideline that sits beside her impressive acting career. The clothes epitomise her style, offering the clever mix of Boho and elegance that she has long made her trademark.
Coming up with a striking, cohesive collection, however, is far from the only objective: budget and sustainability are at the forefront of the endeavour. ‘Accessible pricing is really important,’ she explains, ‘but I find that trying to use responsibly sourced materials makes clothes very expensive.’ It is, she admits, a constant compromise, as she works towards a balance that preserves the planet without passing on costs to the consumer. ‘If you’re going to start companies, you have to be looking at the environment, and what you’re really putting out there. The fashion industry is the second most harmful to the environment.’ Honesty, then, is key: ‘Let’s just be transparent and talk about everything that’s going into our clothes Right now, 50% is kind of where we’re sitting, in terms of how responsible we are.’
Kate joins a crowded market of Hollywood stars who find lucrative projects beyond cinema. And, like Gwyneth Paltrow – who she considers a close friend – she has faced resistance from those who don’t take her seriously as an entrepreneur. ‘We will always, somehow, be fighting against being the court jester,’ she suggests. ‘And hey man, you turn on a light and put me in tap shoes, and I’ll tap, you know?’ she says with a chuckle. You get the distinct impression she would get up to prove it, if she wasn’t behind the wheel. ‘I’ll tap for lunch. It’s ingrained.’ She feels a change in the air, though. ‘It’s shiftiing, so that’s nice,’ she says, ‘but I think any artist would agree that there’s always an uphill battle there.’
Kate first came to international attention as Penny Lane, the forthright yet vulnerable groupie in Almost Famous. The performance earned her an Academy Award nomination at the age of 21. Roles in Raising Helen, Mother’s Day and seminal romcom How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days – who could forget that divine canary yellow gown? – followed and cemented her status as America’s sweetheart. She has, however, also embraced a more serious tone in films such as The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Killer Inside Me. Along the way, she has had three children: as well as sons Ryder, 15, and Bingham, eight, from previous relationships, she and partner Danny Fujikawa, a musician, welcomed daughter Rani Rose last October.
‘I wish there was a perfect balance,’ she sighs. ‘The truth is, there’s not. I just take it day by day, you know?’ Her daughter, exhibiting a knack for her mother’s perfect comedic timing, begins to bawl in the back seat. Kate laughs at the interruption. ‘I’ve got a very, very loud girl these days.’ Self-care, though, is the key to juggling her life with her business. ‘Making sure that I feel healthy, that I’m taking a tiny bit of time to make sure that I feel good, mentally and physically, really goes a long way,’ she says. ‘I just started to check in every day. Am I OK? Burning the candle at both ends, spending enough time with my, you know, 3,000 children. We’re all doing the best we can, you know?’
She credits Danny, who she started dating in 2017 after years of friendship, with helping her strike a balance. ‘My man is so great and supportive and helpful,’ she gushes. ‘To have someone who’s so hands-on and so available is just the most wonderful thing. We’re a great team.’ She is also, she adds, enormously close to her mother, Goldie Hawn. ‘My mother is awesome’, she says. ‘She is my mother, though, so, you know, we have our moments.’
Nevertheless, Kate counts one figure of inspiration outside of the family, citing fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg as her style and business icon. ‘She is incredibly self-possessed and I find her to be a really inspiring, strong woman. She lives her life her way, and I love being with her. Every time I travel, I think of Diane: she doesn’t ever check luggage. I’m like, “You’re my hero!” I want to live my life like Diane Von Furstenberg, to be fashionably ready, in one carry-on case.’
The traffic clears, the garbage truck turns off, and Kate says her goodbyes. A few days later, we meet in person for a cup of iced tea at Selfridges. On arrival, I look down at her feet, just in case, and find myself mildly disappointed: no tap shoes in sight.
HappyXNature is available exclusively at Selfridges London and selfridges.com