March 01 2011
Simon de Burton
My personal style signifiers are two gold nail bracelets, vintage versions from 1970. They are neither masculine nor feminine and attract a great deal of admiration and comment. I think they are unusual and extremely stylish.
The last thing I bought and loved is a white shantung dinner jacket by Ralph Lauren. I have been wearing dinner jackets for decades but this is the first time I’ve owned a white one, and I wish I had discovered them earlier. Ralph Lauren is one of my favourite brands in the world – and the London store is right opposite my office. www.ralphlauren.com.
The thing I’m eyeing next is a sac à dépêches by Hermès – a beautiful, soft attaché case in natural Barenia leather that will get better and better as the years go by. I intend to use it daily, watch it age, then pass it on to my son. www.hermes.com.
A recent find is something called the High Bird Game Card Album. It’s like a photo album, but you fill the sleeves with game cards to keep a record of your shooting activities. You can build up a numbered collection and have the covers embossed with your initials. www.highbird.com.
The last meal that truly impressed me was eaten at home with my wife, Carla. I bought a small amount of white truffle on the way home and handed it to Carla as I walked into the house. She quickly produced a spaghettini, al dente with butter, which we ate with a bottle of Pomerol 1982. I truly believe it was the best meal I have had in my entire life.
The books on my bedside table are Antony Beevor’s The Battle for Spain, and Gentlemen and Blackguards by the author and FT contributor Nick Foulkes. I read all types of books, both fact and fiction, but right now I seem to be drawn towards the historical.
In my fridge you will always find fresh eggs and Hellmann’s mayonnaise. I love egg mayonnaise, in particular oeufs mimosa – you hard boil an egg, remove the yolk and mix it with mayonnaise, herbs, salt and pepper, then return it to the egg white. Delicious.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a shooting suit by John Kent, who has been making my shooting suits for 18 years to a traditional, two-piece design. This one is particularly special as it’s made from a very old tweed. Kent Haste & Lachter, 13 New Burlington Street, London W1 (020-7734 1433).
The best gift I have received recently came from Carla – a brown, crocodile-skin belt with a beautiful crocodile-shaped buckle by silver designer Patrick Mavros. It is quite casual, so I wear it with jeans. www.patrickmavros.com.
The grooming staple I’m never without is Roger & Gallet L’Homme Supple hair gel. I am lucky enough to have a lot of hair and I need to keep it under control. This is the best gel I have found, by far. I buy it in bulk. www.roger-gallet.com.
The site that inspires me is Venice. For me, it is heaven. When I was 12, my father was driving us back from a holiday in Austria in his Citroën DS when he decided to make a detour to Venice. I was immediately struck by the place and have since been many times. Out of season, I stay at the Gritti Palace; in the summer I go to the Cipriani for the wonderful pool. Cipriani, Giudecca 10 (+3904-152 0774; www.hotelcipriani.com). Gritti Palace, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio 2467 (+3904-179 4611; www.gritti.hotelinvenice.com).
The last music I downloaded was La Javanaise by Serge Gainsbourg. I have been a fan forever, but only recently felt the need to reacquaint myself with that song. I admire his impertinence; he was quite unattractive, but he was sharp. His way of speaking was very erotic.
An indulgence I would never forego is the homemade rum and raisin sorbet at Sotheby’s café. It is, quite simply, the best sorbet. I go to the café especially to eat it. 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1 (020-7293 5077; www.sothebys.com/cafe).
My favourite website is Nowness, which is dedicated to luxury lifestyle features. There is a sexiness about it, and it seems to correspond to my own lifestyle. www.nowness.com.