Colour Conversation with our new brand ambassador, Dame Prue Leith


With her joyful eye for colour, it's a real pleasure to introduce our collaboration with the one and only Prue Leith. From growing up against a backdrop of sun, sea and blue skies in South Africa to her new collaboration with Kettlewell, our fabulous new brand ambassador tells Melissa about her adventures in colour and why she finds it impossible to pick a favourite shade...

Your love of colour is legendary! Have you always been drawn to wearing bright colours?

Yes, I was born in South Africa where sun, sea, sky, flowers are all bright. So maybe it comes from there, but since I met my fashion-manufacturer and designer husband John 12 years ago I’ve become more extreme. If I say, ‘Is this too much?’ he replies, ‘No, not enough!’


Top: Prue and her husband John; the colour-drenched hues of Cape Town, where Prue was born

How does colour make you feel?

There’s no doubt it cheers you up. I’ll never understand why everyone wears a black coat in winter. Black is fine for midsummer – black linen is very elegant with a white or bright scarf, but in winter you need a bright yellow or red coat, or at least a hugely bright scarf, gloves and beanie.

Your home is fantastically vibrant too. How did you go about choosing the colours?

First, we divvied up the rooms: kitchen, office and bedrooms for me; library, study, living room for John, and we chose our colours. But, of course, we interfered with each other’s choices. John changed the tone of our bedroom making it more green than turquoise and I insisted on yellow for the drawing room. The most successful room is John’s library – the walls and ceiling are painted in Fire Engine red, which shows off the paintings and books brilliantly. 


John’s library painted in Fire Engine red; a corner of the daffodil-yellow kitchen

Where do you draw your colour inspiration?

I do it by instinct, but there are certain combos which I think always work: orange and purple, deep green and sunshine yellow, black and white, red and black.

Do you have a favourite piece from the Prue Edit?

I love all the Kettlewell jackets. They are casual but stylish and smart, and since they come in every colour in the rainbow you can find one for every T-shirt or jumper you possess.


Prue styles her favourite Kettlewell jackets; from left, the ChelseaRachel and Petra

You’re a big fan of colourful quirky accessories. When did your love affair with flamboyant necklaces begin?

I started by buying African bead necklaces – the beading tradition in Africa is just wonderful – and then I began to buy antique African necklaces and since John and I got together we have travelled all over the place and always visit artisan shops, street markets. I probably have two or three hundred necklaces. They are made of all sorts of recycled things: paper, fabric, wool, wire, leather. Last month I bought one made from ring-pulls from coke cans. And I have a wonderful one made from cut up and painted plastic water bottles. I have a new chunky, modern jewellery range of my own in collaboration with Zsiska. It is made from resin, which takes vibrant, luminous colour really well.


Above, top: Prue’s famous jewellery tree (‘I probably have up to 200 necklaces’); a selection of resin necklaces, the Sienna Rainbow Necklace and the Sophia Pendant exclusively designed by Prue and available on the Kettlewell website

Your glasses are always a talking point, where are they from?

The glasses are from my Specs by Prue range. I love glasses. I’d rather spend money on glasses (and necklaces!) than on shoes and handbags. I mean, where do your shoes and handbags spend most of their time? Under the table, that’s where. Whereas glasses and necklaces are where people look, bang in their eyeline.

If you had to choose a favourite colour?…

Can’t! It changes all the time. Most lately it’s red, orange and yellow.

What tips would you give someone wanting to embrace colour for the first time?

Just go for it. You’ll never look back. Maybe start with a single top or jacket and note how many people say, “Love your jacket!”


Prue's website can be found here

Prue's Instagram is here

 📷: Shoot photography taken by David Lawson David Lawson Studios (@davidlawsonphotography) 

If you are inspired to embrace colour, just like Prue, take our quick and easy Colour Quiz to discover the colours that suit you best. Want to take it one step further? Why not join our friendly Facebook group, the Kettlewell Colour Club, for support, guidance and everyday inspiration to help you to build your colourful wardrobe for life. 

Geraldine du Berry on Aug 08, 2023 9:04 PM

Please tell - is Prue warm or cool?? And will she be doing a Prue edit for the autumn/winter of 2023

Valerie Tranfield on Apr 30, 2023 2:45 PM

Prue a girl after my own heart and not born in Africa. Know what colour suits you, and there is more than one, and brighten up a dull wintery day.

Sue on Mar 26, 2023 8:58 PM

Wearing one of my kettewell skirts, catalogue on my lap deciding what am I going to buy!! Spoilt for choice. Colour colour colour!

I think Prue was wearing a combination of Kettlewell at her her one lady show at the octagon earlier this month! Fab!

Judith on Mar 26, 2023 5:22 PM

I'd love a closer look at Prue's jewellery trees! Fascinated to know what's on there.

What about scarves? Do you have many, and how do you store them?

Lovely photos! Wish I could afford glasses with different coloured frames but my lenses cost a fortune as it is. Prue looks fabulous in hers.

Coralie on Mar 26, 2023 7:43 AM


Maggi Marshall on Mar 25, 2023 2:07 PM

Did Prue wear a selection of Rachel jackets when she was on ‘Prue and Danny’s death road trip? I’m sure she was because I have 2.

Margaret on Mar 25, 2023 1:19 PM

Often think that Springs are so lucky to be able to wear such vibrant colours. As a Summer, the colours always seem rather muted.

Judy on Mar 25, 2023 10:55 AM

Truly wonderful to see the latest Kettleswells looking so fabulous on Prue. Please always use her as your model. At last I can see the styles on someone who is “like me” in shape, and truly celebrating her maturity. Being box shaped and five foot four, I struggle to identify with the tall slim young models. It’s a great step forwards to be able to include our own photos on the webpages, well done Kettlewell for that, but the professional photos of Prue really do nail it for me. Those jackets look stunning on her and now I can really see how stunning they would look on me. May we know what size Prue wears?

Sarah Moloney on Mar 25, 2023 10:47 AM

Hello Prue. I too love colour and I don’t do black at all. My favourite colours are from a peacock, I love blues and green sand purples and teals and more.

I so agree with your glasses and necklace over bags and shoes although I’m a pearl lady in the summer and silk or cashmere scarf in the cooler months. I hope you enjoy being Ambassador of my favourite colour shop.

Kind regards


Beth on Mar 25, 2023 8:20 AM

I love Prue’s vibrant colour choices! But what Season is she? She seems to be wearing a lot of Spring colours….. can we see her wonderful colour combinations adapted for all the Seasons?

(I specially love her glasses and would love to find a pair with colours that suit my Summer face)

Pauline Marchmont on Mar 25, 2023 8:06 AM

Have you put Prue into a season or a tonal analysis?

Patti Warcup on Mar 24, 2023 12:58 PM

Wow, wow, wow! You look absolutely gorgeous

Julie on Mar 24, 2023 12:50 PM

What top is Melissa wearing?

Kettlewell Colours: You will have to wait and see..... :-)

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