Style | The Aesthete

Marcus Wainwright talks style: Part One

Marcus Wainwright co-founded the cult New York-based fashion label Rag & Bone in 2002; its Sloane Street flagship store opened in August

December 17 2012
Elizabeth Paton

My personal style signifier is my extensive sneaker collection – I wear a pair every day. My favourite label by far is Adidas, although recently I’ve also started wearing classic monochrome slip-ons from Vans. I tend to buy them online as I never have time to go to the shops; as a result my desk at work is surrounded by piles of my purchases.

The last thing I bought and loved was a vintage Rolex Submariner 5513 on eBay. Collecting sports watches from the 1960s and 1970s has become a dangerously consuming passion of mine. I love how timepieces are incredible works of art in their very construction, while also being functional.

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a digital camera; if money were no object I’d go for a Leica, probably the M9-P. In my eyes it makes the world’s most perfectly crafted machines. I’m what you might call an enthusiastic amateur photographer, although I like that I’m not particularly good – it drives me to keep taking pictures. From £5,395;

The site that inspires me is Rajasthan and its palaces. It is hard to fully describe the intoxicating sense of other‑worldliness and splendour until you see the region for yourself. A work trip to northern India last year, coupled with the experience of living in Bangladesh as a child, provided the foundation for our recent autumn/winter 2012 womenswear collection. I was fascinated by the impact of British colonialism on the subcontinent, so we created a line full of military-style tailoring with vibrant hues, turbans and sari-influenced layering.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Ed Ruscha. The Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas series is spellbinding. He resonates with me because of his belief that art need not always have a message; to love something purely for its aesthetic is often enough.

The books on my bedside table are… none, I’m afraid. I keep a sketchbook, pen and a Samsung tablet in the event that work‑related inspiration should strike. I fear that if I tried to read in bed I would be asleep in 30 seconds flat.

In my fridge you’ll always find a fine selection of good-quality, ice-cold beer; it is the way to unwind from a long, hard working day. Peroni is a particular household favourite, although I’m always happy to experiment.

An unforgettable place I’ve been to in the past year is The Webster in Miami. It is the most beautifully curated multibrand boutique I’ve ever visited –  and has really influenced the way I think about retail. It’s housed in a lovely pastel-coloured art-deco building, with multiple floors and a rooftop lounge bar that has gorgeous views over the city. The owners have crammed it full of the best fashion from around the world. 1220 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (+1305-673 5548;

And the last souvenir I brought home was a selection of vintage and hand-embroidered bespoke shirts and jackets from local tailors on my trip to India. I broke my “Rag & Bone only” rule because the design and finish of these pieces were just too beautiful to resist.

The last music I downloaded was an album called Monkeytown by the Berlin electronica duo Modeselektor. They were recommended to me by [Radiohead frontman] Thom Yorke – he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of music and composes mix sets for our fashion shows. Another recent purchase was the Star Wars theme tune by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

My favourite websites are the Bamford Watch Department – a most amazing site that both sells and allows you to customise the best timepieces that money can buy – and Dead Air Space, a blog and online hub run by the band Radiohead for their fans. And eBay, where endless amounts of time and money can be wasted on the most unexpected of purchases.