December 19 2012
My style icon is Prince Charles. As an Englishman now permanently residing in New York, I find myself appreciating Savile Row tailoring and classically made gentlemen’s attire more than ever. HRH pulls both off with aplomb and seems to have an outfit that works perfectly for any and every occasion. It’s a sartorial skill you’ve got to admire.
The last item I added to my wardrobe was the Yorke windbreaker jacket from our latest Rag & Bone menswear collection, which is practical and versatile. I think it’s important that I fly the flag for my brand with what I wear, so I rarely buy clothes from anywhere else. We set up the label with no formal fashion training and learnt the ropes from a group of Kentucky artisans. We’ve come a long way since then and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved. $495; www.rag-bone.com.
An indulgence I would never forego is cheese. I always have about 20 on the go at home. It’s a deeply unhealthy but delicious addiction, fuelled by regular trips to the fabulous Chelsea Market, which is a stone’s throw from our Meatpacking District offices. 75 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10011; www.chelseamarket.com.
An object I would never part with is my gold signet ring – the only jewellery I ever wear apart from a watch. I was given it on my 18th birthday by my parents. It’s very simple, with our family crest engraved into it.
The best gift I’ve given recently was a large, quilted 2.55 Chanel handbag to my wife [the model Glenna Neece]. I knew it was something she secretly wanted, so when I surprised her I was extremely popular. Still, I got quite a shock at the till when I bought it. From £2,975; www.chanel.com.
And the best one I’ve received recently is a portrait of me done by my wife, which she unveiled on my birthday earlier this year. Glenna is currently a full-time mother, but she recently took up painting and is really very talented. In terms of capturing a flattering likeness, I think she did a good job.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Harajuku district of Tokyo. It is increasingly overrun by tourists, but the people-watching is fabulous and some of the shops are real gems. My favourite is Tokyu Hands, a mad DIY/crafts department store: one floor sells 30 kinds of nail clipper, another has 20 types of magnet; while elsewhere you might uncover ramen-flavoured sweets. It is a wonderfully bizarre, Alice in Wonderland-style shopping experience. Nearby is the Mister Hollywood boutique, home to the Japanese clothing brand N Hoolywood – a definite neighbourhood highlight. It is hugely creative in terms of its layout and design, and has that quintessential Japanese eye for quality and timeless cool. Mister Hollywood, 4-13-16 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo (+813-5414 5071; www.n-hoolywood.com).Tokyu Hands, 12-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (+813-5489 5111; www.tokyu-hands.co.jp).
A recent “find” is [the artist-designer-writer] Stanley Donwood. If I’m ever looking for artwork, I ask him for something squirrelled away in his studio. Getting stuff out of him is like pulling teeth, but when I do, it’s mind blowing. www.slowlydownward.com.
The people I rely on for personal grooming and style is a difficult question for me to answer. I’m not sure how much grooming I actually do. But freelance hair stylist Blake Burkholder cuts my hair here in New York. And If I ever need a suit I speak to Patrick Grant at Norton & Sons on Savile Row – he’s an old friend and a damn fine tailor. Blake Burkholder, tel no t/c. Norton & Sons, 16 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7437 0829; www.nortonandsons.co.uk).
My favourite room in my house is any room that I’m in with my wife and kids… so basically that means the playroom. However, we’re currently selling our home and my wife has kindly agreed that in our new place I can create myself a man cave – that may usurp the playroom at times.
The last meal I had that truly impressed me was at a tiny restaurant in Japan called Soisabo. It’s on the outer fringes of Tokyo, run by a monk and his wife in the front room of their house. It’s just a single table in a kitchen, where you sit cross-legged on a tatami mat. The fresh, local ingredients and exquisite cuisine, served in such humble surroundings, and with such devotional service, made it a night to remember. I suspect the copious amounts of sake with great companions contributed to the experience, too. 4-1-9 Meguro-Honcho, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (+813-3710 4336).
If I didn’t live where I do now… I want to say I’d move back to London, but I’m not sure I could ever be there full-time any more. In fact, there is nowhere I’d rather be – I love New York. There’s a contagious sense of opportunity and spirit in this city that you can’t really find anywhere else. That said, I do live over the water in Brooklyn; sometimes you have to escape from the madhouse.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I’d be a dive master in Mexico. Twelve years ago I quit my telecoms consultancy job in London and decided it was time for an adventure. It was sheer bliss: sleeping, reading, drinking and diving every single day. If I hadn’t met a pretty girl from New York, by chance, on the beach – now my wife and mother to our three children – there’s a strong chance I’d still be there.