May 31 2013
Simon de Burton
My style icon could be a regular person heading towards me as I walk down the street. Powerful, famous people have inspired me only rarely.
The site that inspires me is the ocean seen from a boat, being completely surrounded by it. It gives a sense of inner peace and well-being that is hard to experience anywhere else. On the other hand, I also love seeing a racetrack from behind the wheel of a fast Italian car – it makes me focus and discover who I am.
In my fridge you’ll always find carrot juice, fresh tomatoes and basil. I drink carrot juice every day, sometimes mixed with apple, and I love to slice a really good tomato in half and cover it with olive oil, basil and salt and eat it just like that, often at breakfast time. I like food and I love to eat.
The last music I downloaded was by Vasco Rossi, the first person who comes to mind when I think about Italian music. I have all his music, the latest being the single L’Uomo Più Semplice. In terms of non-Italian music, my most recent acquisition was Living Things by the American rock band Linkin Park. I listen to music absolutely everywhere and all the time – at home, in the car and in the office. It is one of the great necessities in life. www.linkinpark.com. www.vascorossi.net.
The people I rely on for personal grooming and fitness are Valentino Perini, who cuts my hair. Like me, he is a fan of football and cars, so we have plenty to talk about. He doesn’t have a salon as he specialises in working on models at photo shoots, so he just comes to my home. My personal trainer, Simone Doti, has been working with me ever since I first lived in Milan. My fitness regime combines Pilates and the TRX suspension trainer, which is brilliant. When I’m in LA, I use indoor cycling studio SoulCycle. Simone Doti, Pizzale Fratelli Zavattari 6, 20149 Milan (+3902-4540 9750). SoulCycle, 8670 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069 (+1310-657 7685; www.soul-cycle.com). Valentino Perini, +3902-8456 5265.
The best gift I’ve given recently would be a car called a Pobeda, which means “victory” in Russian. They were produced in the Soviet Union by GAZ and were the first soviet-built cars to have electric windscreen wipers, turn signals, a heater and a radio. This particular one was the personal property of Joseph Stalin and I have donated it to the Museum of the Automobile in Turin. Corso Unità d’Italia 40, 10126 Turin (+3911-677 666; www.museoauto.it).
My favourite room in my house is the kitchen of my home in Milan. I have decorated it in a superhero theme, with 20 or so large-scale artworks from Marvel comics and Warner Brothers movies. The table is inlaid with dozens of photographs of my family, friends and girlfriends, and the two windows are in the shape of portholes, so it is rather like being on a boat – another of my favourite places.
The last accessory I added to my wardrobe is a navy-blue knitted tie by the Milan brand AD56. It has already become one of my favourites – it’s very discreet. Via Fatebenefratelli 15, 20121 Milan (+3902-654 030; www.ad56milano.it).
If I didn’t live in Milan, I would have no issue whatsoever in resettling myself in any city anywhere in the world – there are so many I love. I consider myself to be an Italian citizen of the world.
An indulgence I would never forego is driving. I hate the idea of being somewhere without having the opportunity to move independently. I love the freedom of having the keys to my car, so I can just fire it up and go anywhere I want without questions or explanations. If I’m in a place where I don’t keep a car, I always hire one. I just need to know that I can get myself around.
The grooming staple I’m never without is a fabulous Japanese face cream called Kose, which was given to me by a friend. It makes you look less old and less tired and, while it might not be a cool thing to admit, I prefer to look good than bad. £130 for 150ml; www.kose.co.jp.
An object I would never part with is my passport. I would hate not to be able to travel; it is something I feel the need to do all the time.
The books on my bedside table are the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps, which is always there, Henry Kissinger’s Diplomacy, The Art of War by the legendary military strategist Sun Tzu and a huge picture book illustrating hundreds of cars made between 1910 and the present day. I also have Clean by Dr Alejandro Junger, a compilation of all the quotes of Sir Winston Churchill, and, in contrast, a book of dirty jokes.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Leonardo da Vinci. There is a drawing by him in my family collection, but it doesn’t belong to me. Leonardo represents the quintessence of what the Italians once knew how to do so well, which was magnificence. We need to work towards getting that back.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a designer of cars, boats and aeroplanes. The fact that I have worked a great deal with Fiat and Ferrari makes me think that, if I had the skill and capability, I would like to do that. I’m currently looking at the chance to work on the ongoing revival of the famous Italian boat brand Baglietto. www.baglietto.com.