Style | The Aesthete

Amanda Levete talks personal style: Part Two

The architect puts the finishing touches to her compendium of likes and lusts.

November 11 2010
Janice Blackburn

My style icon is the late Gianni Agnelli. There is a famous photograph of him in later years about to dive naked off a yacht that completely captures the power and sexuality that made the man.

A recent “find” is Mayfair Cobblers – no job is too complicated. They repair my shoes, however old, and they recently took in a pair of Jimmy Choo boots for me to make them skintight. 4 White Horse Street, London W1 (020-7491 3426; www.mayfaircobblers.co.uk).

An object I’d never part with is my stash of yellow 0.9mm Pentel pencils with 2B leads. www.pentel.co.uk.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at The Fat Duck in Bray for my son’s 15th birthday with his best foodie friend. It took us 36 hours to travel from Milan to London by car and boat to get back in time, having been stranded by the volcanic ash, but that made it all the more special. The quest, endeavour, desire to innovate and perfect were all expressed in a magical four-hour experience. It was a lesson in the value of excellence. High Street, Bray, Berkshire SL6 2AQ (01628-580 333; www.thefatduck.co.uk).

An indulgence I’d never forego is lavender water to make my laundry smell sweet. I make it myself with lavender oil from Provence, vodka and distilled water.

In my fridge you’ll always find Italian eggs from Michanicou Brothers, a great Cypriot family greengrocer in Holland Park. Apparently, they feed the chickens on corn, so the eggs have really deep-yellow yolks and taste sweet. Then there’s skimmed milk, a block of parmesan, blueberries, rocket, fresh chillies, flat-leaf parsley, and unwaxed lemons and oranges so that the juice I squeeze every morning is fresh and icy cold. I’ve learnt to be less controlling, so there is also lots of rubbish that our teenagers like. 2 Clarendon Road, London W11 (020-7727 5191).

The artist whose work I would collect if I could is Goya – his brushstrokes and use of colour convey such passion and depth of meaning – and Mark Rothko, for the same reason.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Notting Hill. When I met my husband, I moved from west London to Holloway, but I still fly in our food from various shops around Notting Hill, including Clarke’s for great bread, cheese and tarts; The Fish Shop in Kensington, where they vacuum-pack the fish in beautiful foil and give me free herbs and lemons; Lidgate for meat; and Michanicou, again, for fruit, vegetables and those incredible eggs. Clarke’s, 122-4 Kensington Church Street, London W8 (020-7229 2190; www.sallyclarke.com). The Fish Shop at Kensington Place, 199A Kensington Church Street, London W8 (020-7243 6626; www.danddlondon.com). Lidgate Butchers, 110 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 (020-7227 8243; www.lidgate.com).

My favourite websites? For all the modernity of my work, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t use the internet much. If there is a dramatic news story, I will look at the BBC; but, actually, I would much rather read a newspaper. www.bbc.co.uk.

The person I rely on for personal grooming and style is my personal trainer, Gavin. I meet him in the park most lunchtimes, come rain or shine. He used to play football for Trinidad and Tobago. Anyone from the office is welcome to join me for running and hard-core exercises. I moan a lot, but always feel great afterwards – exercise leaves you with a nice afterglow. 07859-927 663; moze.fitnesszone.gavin@googlemail.com.

The site that inspires me is the lava fields on the Galápagos Islands, with their otherworldly, extraordinary forms – it feels as if they hold the secret to the universe.

If I didn’t live in London, the city I’d live in would be Chicago. It’s gritty, romantic, tough, and has an unrivalled heritage of modern architecture. But let’s say “couldn’t” instead of “didn’t”, as I love London; there is absolutely nowhere I would rather live.