September 17 2010
My style icon is Yves Saint Laurent, no contest. Everything about him and what he did – the lifestyle, the package, the clothes, the great art – was, across the board, amazingly stylish. And those houses, the furniture... I’m sure he had a lot of fun in them too.
The site that inspires me is the moon. It gets to me really majorly, if that’s a word. And not just aesthetically, though I can stare and stare at it. I’ll be feeling a bit unusual about something, out of sorts, and then I’ll realise, oh, it’s a full moon. It’s a weird, subconscious but undeniable thing.
An indulgence I’d never forego is exercise; swimming especially. I really genuinely enjoy it, so it’s as much an indulgence as a necessity. In our day and age, times where you can just submerge yourself in silence and focus on what you’re doing without distractions are few and far between.
The last meal that truly impressed me was up on the roof of the Westfield building in Stratford, east London, at the pop-up restaurant the Bistrotheque boys had there called Studio East Dining. The view was incredible, the food was delicious. The venue was really novel. The architects who worked on it [Carmody Groarke] did a top job – really, really slick. www.bistrotheque.com. westfieldstudioeast.co.uk.
The best gift I’ve given recently was a custom-made spider dress from my last spring-summer collection to my friend [Love editor-in-chief] Katie Grand. She was really delighted about that. It’s always good to see someone very happy with a personal order.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Mayfair, which everyone must say, but it’s because it has everything. I love the restaurants, especially Scott’s, and the mix of old and new, Sadie Coles and the other galleries, and the designers on Mount Street, right alongside Mount Street Printers, which is totally traditional. Mount Street Printers, 4 Mount Street, London W1 (020-7409 0303; www.mountstreetprinters.com). Sadie Coles HQ, 69 South Audley Street, London W1 (020-7493 8611; www.sadiecoles.com). Scott’s, 20 Mount Street, London W1 (020-7495 7309; www.scotts-restaurant.com).
An object I would never part with? I don’t really have that many things of super-sentimental value. I’ve got quite a nice dachshund made out of a gorgeous Marimekko print fabric, which, come to think of it, I’m quite fond of. So it would be a great shame if I had to part with that.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is probably Keith Haring. I’d absolutely adore a Keith Haring vase. He’s an ongoing favourite of mine. There are artists who are perhaps more favourites in an aesthetic sense, or an achievement sense, but I think I would find having a Keith Haring in my house a constant source of enjoyment. www.haring.com.
My favourite room is my drawing room, which I’m sitting and working in right now. It’s got a large window with a view onto my front garden and a big, lush sycamore; you don’t see any other properties and it’s very quiet. It’s a good contemplative place; a marvellous spot to sit and think.
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Los Angeles. The climate, the lifestyle, the architecture; it’s all so good. And there’s the whole easiness in getting to other spectacular California places – San Francisco, the desert. I could definitely live there; I’m not one of the LA-haters at all. There’s [the neighbourhood of] Silver Lake, great galleries and a really vibrant cultural scene. And a lot of it’s going on totally outside of old Hollywoodland.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be somehow involved with animal welfare. Or with biology – a marine or zoological biologist. In a way, I actually do something not unlike it; my world is simply a different sort of, uh, zoo. It’s the observation of different species interacting, and all that.