I had heard about her before I ever met her – the extraordinarily glamorous Australian, Emma Hawkins. I was working as a fork lift truck driver at The Gallerie’s Antique Market in Bermondsey, when an Australian financier used to come by in his white convertible Rolls Royce Corniche and fervently talk about: “This girl, Emma – had I met her? She’s amazing…You must meet her!…We should all go down to the South of France on a buying trip!”
I knew of her father of course, the legendary antique dealer, ‘The Great’ John Hawkins. Emma had also grown up with Warner Dailey in her life, who was my childhood mentor. When the financier discovered the connection with Warner, he became even more adamant we should meet.
I eventually did. She was twenty one when she bought a building in Notting hill and opened an exceptionally stylish and opulent shop ‘Hawkins & Hawkins’, selling taxidermy and curiosities. It was like she had dropped down from outer space, doing something then that no one else was doing, as taxidermy was certainly not fashionable in the late nineties/early noughties. She was before her time. I used to go to her shop with an Italian client I was working for, Alessandro Steffanini. I was the man with a van, ten years older than her and she was this vibrant sensation, Notting hill shop owner who had found – and was following her passion. She broke boundaries and created new fashions. She is truly a remarkable and a true individual.
Emma doesn’t have the shop anymore in Notting Hill but creates collections for clients and sells at Dover Street Market. I am so pleased that the financier pushed for us to meet as we have become firm friends over the last two decades.
As you can imagine from a renowned collector and hugely talented antique dealer, her house in Edinburgh is full to bursting with endless treasures, curiosities, taxidermy and antiques. Out of it all, Emma has selected some of her favourite things.