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Style | The Aesthete

Mr Chow talks personal style: Part Two

Poker, da Vinci and Hong Kong conclude the restaurateur’s personal style file

December 07 2012
Christina Ohly Evans

My style icon is the late actor Gary Cooper. He was beyond elegant, women loved him and his style was eternal. His sensibility, his walk and the way he carried himself are unmatched to this day.

My favourite room in my house is the “gold room”. Gold is typically vulgar, but it isn’t in this sitting room, which contains paintings by Peter Blake, sculptures and an original Murano chandelier that is quite spectacular. This space is a jewel within my house, and it is big, functional, and very well used.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Balthazar in New York. I went for dinner recently and the restaurant was incredibly lively, and the mix of people was just right. The menu isn’t huge but they do everything so well. We had fruits de mer and steak frites – simple food, but very nostalgic and delicious. 80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 (+1212-965 1414; www.balthazarny.com).

An indulgence I would never forego is the game of poker. I think art and poker have a lot in common: you get certain highs and lows from both, and they each force you to exercise your mind. Poker requires split-second decision-making, and I like that you play against yourself.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Leonardo da Vinci. The depth and beauty of his creations is simply apart from everyone else.  

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were six pairs of corduroy trousers in various colours that were custom-made for me by Hermès in Paris. All of those colours might have been a mistake... 24 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris (+331-4017 4600; www.hermes.com).

The people I rely on for personal grooming and style are Little Joe’s in Beverly Hills for my haircuts – his modest barbershop has a lot of history to it and all of Hollywood goes to him – and George Cleverley for my bespoke shoes. George Cleverley, 13 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street, London W1 (020-7493 0443; www.gjcleverley.co.uk). Little Joe’s, 9602 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90210 (+1310-271 5363).

My favourite website is YouTube, which I like to look at because I am a very visual person. I prefer to read things in print, as I’m ancient and not well versed in computers. I am, however, young in spirit. www.youtube.com.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the area surrounding the Spanish Steps in Rome. After setting off from the Hassler Hotel, I like to shop on the Via Condotti at boutiques such as Gucci. The Gagosian Gallery there is also wonderful, as is the Via Veneto nearby. This area is the heart of Rome and it makes me happy just thinking about it. Gagosian Gallery, Via Francesco Crispi 16, 00187 Rome (+3906-4208 6498; www.gagosian.com). Gucci, Via Condotti 8, 00187 Rome (+3906-6790 405; www.gucci.com). Hotel Hassler Roma, Piazza della Trinità dei Monti, 00187 Rome (+3906-699 340; www.hotelhasslerroma.com).

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a roof tile that I found in Shanghai. I left China as a young teen so, for me, this historical tile is very personal. I consider it a powerful piece of sculpture, as it has a beautiful shape and colour.

If I didn’t live in Los Angeles, the city I would live in is Hong Kong. I just love the idea of it: the weather is great, you can eat the best food on earth and it has literally everything to offer. I like the Peninsula Hotel because it feels nostalgic, with its afternoon tea. I would love to live in The Peak area for the incredible views. Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong (+852-2920 2888; www.peninsula.com).

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a conductor, as I like both the precision of creating music of pure, perfect moments and the idea of rehearsals and collaboration. I would like to be Toscanini, but in a new way.

See also

People, Mr Chow