Harper’s Bazaar Cover: Kelly England Prehn, July 2019

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ADVENTURER: THE TOP MODEL IMPOSSIBLE TO LABEL

Kelly England Prehn’s incredible career from growing up on a farm to fashion icon reads like that of a novel. But, what is her true passion and has she found it yet?

By Nguyen Thanh Thao July 08, 2019

 

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Kelly England Prehn is a vision as she hops from Giambattista Valli gown to Ralph & Russo suit with the grace only held by a top model that has earned her place. The Bedfordshire Mansion’s dramatic curved staircase echoes with Kelly’s warm laughter. Growing up, Kelly was prepared for a different kind of life. She recalled “I am a country girl at heart and love nature and green fields. People from Staffordshire don’t often stray far – it is so beautiful there.” But, fate stepped in on a school trip when she was spotted by Models One agency.

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Japanese makeup legend Shu Uemura is credited for propelling her into the mainstream and introducing her to Asia. “I really fell in love with Asia, the people, the culture, the food, the customs and the opportunities and worked really hard.”  The choice to grow a serious footing in Asia at the same time as in Europe was groundbreaking. “My London agent was furious with me” she laughs. “But following the well-trodden typical fashion path wasn’t for me – I wanted adventure.” Despite going in the opposite direction to other models she still walked the runway for everyone from Versace, Gucci, Burberry and Ralph Lauren and discovered a brand new world that embraced her.

Dare to dream

“There were no role-models at the start. All I had was instinct. When my career took off no one gave me any limitations which was very lucky.” Kelly started her businesses as soon as she could. Now with Asia the top priority of luxury brands, that courage has served her well.  “I have always been a rule breaker” she smiles “I haven’t broken any legal rules. But social rules -- yes bring them on.” Seeing pictures of Kelly paparazzied in airports around the world or on the front row at runway shows gives the impression that she lives an insanely glamorous life. But in person, she is remarkably humble and well grounded.

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The adventure continues

So, how fun is this incredible life? “Being part of special events, with amazing people is part of my career and I appreciate that every day. But the truth is that I don’t want to be at every show, or at every party. When I go out it is a big deal, supporting friends. I am always excited.” She confides, “My idea of a fun night is a simple dinner at home, playing Monopoly games with friends and then dancing to K-Pop’s BLACKPINK with my adopted pets as my audience!” It sounds surprisingly casual for someone that is often the first point of contact in Asia for everyone from other celebrities to Prime Ministers for her business experiences. “I think it is important to treat every person the same whoever they are” she replies discretely.

There is a rumor that Kelly is writing a groundbreaking book. She covers her face in her hands and smiles. “OMG, I cannot give you too much about the storyline, but it got out and to my surprise a couple of agents in New York and London have asked to see me. It’s too soon to make any decisions yet as I want to finish the book first.” When pressed she continues “there are a lot of plot twists, but I must stop speaking about it, I’ve given too much away already!”

This week in London, there was a headline that the entrepreneur was offered to present a TV show but politely declined. “That sounds fun, but everyone that works with me knows I never sit still, and always have a few projects on the go and am super appreciative for these opportunities. Like everyone, I only have so much time to focus on things really important to me” – Kelly is a WWF Ambassador and is a high profile campaigner for animal welfare and conservation. “I am just so incredibly grateful and excited for the future.”

 PHOTOGRAPHER: CATHERINE HARBOUR
STYLIST: JENNIFER MICHALSKI BRAY
MAKEUP: JAMES BUTTERFIELD USING ARMANI COSMETICS
HAIR: SVEN BAYERBACH AT CAROL HAYES MGMT USING MR SMITH
MANICURE: EDYTA BETKA AT BEAUTII USING CND
PHOTOGRAPHERS ASSISTANT JENNA SMITH
STYLIST ASSISTANT: KAYLEIGH DENNIS
STYLIST INTERN: EMMA STEWART
SHOT IN THE GLORIOUS SPLENDOR OF LUTON HOO, BEDFORDSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM

Look 1:
Dress: Giambattista Valli

Look 2: 
Headband - Jennifer Behr
Dress - Bora Aksu
Rings - Sarah Zuhang and Sif Jakobs

Look 3: 
Suit - Ralph & Russo
Bustier - Jessica Choay
Bracelet - KVK73
Rings - Butler & Wilson
Choker - Lara Heems

Look 4:
Dress - Rebecca Vallance
Belt - Zuhair Murad
Head Pieces - John Nollet
Rings - Annoushka

Look 5:
Cardigan - Alexander McQueen
Skirt - Alexander McQueen
Belt - Alexander McQueen
Bustier- Jessica Choay
Shoes - Malone Souliers
Earrings - Vintage Givenchy at Susan Caplan
Cuff - Alexander McQueen
Rings - Lara Heems and Annoushka

Look 6:
Dress - Blumarine
Necklaces - Chanel at Susan Caplan
Cuff - Chanel at Susan Caplan
Rings - Dower & Hall and Carolina Bucci