Style | The Aesthete

Anouska Hempel talks personal style: Part Two

The designer puts the finishing touches to her litany of likes and lusts.

December 09 2010
Maria Shollenbarger

My style icon is Daphne Guinness. She sorts it out like no one else does. And she’s got Isabella [Blow]’s stuff now [after buying her entire wardrobe at auction], clever girl. She has great strength of character, great commitment to sticking to one thing and doing it well.

An object I would never part with? No, there’s nothing material I’d not part with if necessary. Oh, my pencil, for sketching – I can’t imagine being without that.

The last meal that truly impressed me was by [owner of London catering company Mustard] Glynn Woodin, who made the most glorious homemade cheese with truffles. And then we finished it all off with a yoghurt and eau de vie ice cream. It’s one of those outrageously rich meals; if you can get through it, you know you’ll remember it. 38 Weir Road, London SW19 (020-8971 7800;

An indulgence I’d never forego is planting trees. And it is definitely sheer indulgence on my part. I can’t imagine not having my trees, my tree-lined avenues where I live.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Bhutan – just to go to a principality and meet a queen, and walk sideways up a path with a donkey and almost die. It’s as close as you can get to true civilisation; up, up, up in a strange and utterly foreign place. We stayed at an Amanresort, and it was glorious. We literally lived in the clouds – you’d stand at the edge of a precipice looking out at the mountains, and have a cloud as a collar. Amazing. From $1,630; Amankora, at five locations in Bhutan (+9752-331 333;

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a Turkish ice-cream spoon, in silver, found in Istanbul. And we actually use it to eat ice cream. I’ve since found about 10 others on travels all over the world, from different markets and dealers. It’s funny; once you start looking for a particular thing, it’s amazing what you can find. They all date from about 1902, when Istanbul was really happening – really busy entertaining itself.

My favourite room is my pudding room. It’s green and is like living inside a leaf. And after a long dinner, when everyone’s bored of the people they’ve been sitting next to for a couple of hours, you move them in here and shift them around to give them a whole new experience. It’s a fun and slightly silly thing to do.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I think I’d have to go for Notting Hill and Westbourne Grove – I find I keep going back to Daylesford Organic and Heidi Klein. Or I’d do all right in the Portobello Market, I suppose. Daylesford Organic, 208-212 Westbourne Grove, London W11 (020-7313 8050; Heidi Klein, 174 Westbourne Grove, London W11 (020-7243 5665;

The grooming staples I’m never without are [my perfume] Cabotine, which has lovely ginger lily in it and which I do, in fact, wear all the time, everywhere; a hair grip, and that’s it. You really don’t need anything else, do you? I mean, one can clean one’s teeth with charcoal. £43 for 100ml eau de toilette;

If I weren’t doing what I do, I’d be doing the same again – it’s not really work, it’s a way of living. Well, I suppose I wanted to be a dancer. But I do still dance – still hop along, in my way – and anyway, I can’t make any money out of that. As it is, I’m so lucky. I get to do everything I like to do; from the actual building, to the menus, the light, the furniture.