Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger is a former model, philanthropist and wife of American designer Tommy Hilfiger. The pair are the ultimate “power couple”, but what I admired the most about this dynamic duo is the love and respect they have for one another and how that is the foundation of everything they do. I had the pleasure of interviewing this truly inspiring lady and she sets an example of empowerment to us all. Some might presume that Dee is just the other half of Tommy but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dee is an entrepreneur in her own right – She is the Creative Director of American evening handbag Couture House, Judith Lieber and established her namesake line designing her own line of shoes worn by celebrities from Olivia Palermo to Beyonce.
Once you arrive to the island where Tommy and Dee Hilfiger’s home is, you might think you have entered paradise. The British colonial style house is nestled in Palm Grove hence the name “Palm Beach”, and is situated on L’Ansecoy Bay on the privately owned island of Mustique. Located in the Caribbean archipelago nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadin, the island is known for its celebrity inhabitants who favour the exclusivity and privacy of the 1,400 acre space. “Mustique is a special place for our family as it affords us the space and most of all privacy to relax and unwind. It is a safe and familiar paradise”, says Mrs. Hilfiger.
Tommy bought a house in 1990 where Palm Beach Villa now stands, and decided to tear it down completely to build a brand new coral stone home designed by Oliver Messel. Their new home took three years to complete.
Walking up the palm lined entrance you are greeted with a sweeping double sided staircase and hall designed by Arne Hasselquist and inspired by the designer’s partnership with Oliver Messel. Although certainly grand, it is the understated elegance that captures the eye. The large scale entrance hall invites you into what can only be described as a family home that has clearly been decorated with attention to detail and the juxtaposition of many styles. On one side of the large drawing room there are elements of oriental artefacts whereas the other side is decorated with coral print fabrics and hues of sea green.
The interiors of the home were originally done by Colefax and Fowler and remain true to the original design although the fabrics have to be changed quite often given the proximity of the house to the sea. Wendy Nichols was the lead designer and it was under her creative direction that resulted in the mix of British Old School and Caribbean. “I would say what distinguishes it as a “Hilfiger Home” is its casual elegance… although it is large enough for our huge family, it still maintains a sense of cosiness and intimacy”.
Palm Beach villa has eight bedrooms with two stand alone poolside cottages and a mind blowing swimming pool boasting panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. “Our favourite room is probably the library where we usually gather for nightly cocktails, news and backgammon,” says Dee. There is an abundance of books and it highlights their love of Art, Design and Architecture. “We have everything from Monet to Basquiat and Frank Lloyd Wright to Zaha Hadid.”
The Master Bedroom is a delicate mixture of masculine and feminine which leads on to a balcony overlooking the sweeping idyllic view of the swimming pool, beach and the sea. The four poster bed was bought at an auction and is an original hand carved mahogany piece from the South of India. Adjoined is a walk in wardrobe that every girl dreams of.
“Tommy and I have visited both China and Hong Kong several times and would say we are nothing short of obsessed by the beauty, art, culture, design and of course the food! Every trip is incredibly inspiring and always leaves us planning our next trip back!”
CreditLead image: Kate Martin