Style | The Aesthete

Carolina Herrera talks personal style

Carolina Herrera oversees a global design firm present in 110 countries and comprising fashion, fragrance and accessories.

March 15 2011
Maria Shollenbarger

My personal style signifier is my topaz and gold bangle, which I wear almost every day. My husband [Reinaldo Herrera] gave it to me – how many years ago? – a long time ago, let’s say. He designed it himself and had it made. And also a watch from Fulco di Verdura, which is a gold chain watch originally designed for Greta Garbo. I had to have one. From £14,200, www.verdura.com.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to is Urbino, in Italy. I was staying nearby in Mondavio with friends. I went all over the town and saw it all: the Palazzo Ducale, the squares. It’s austere, but not poor in its beauty at all. It is very elegant.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is an extraordinary Panama hat that feels like crisp linen. I bought it at a milliner’s in Panama and it cost a fortune. I had no idea they were so expensive, when done the right way. I love hats – I never let my face in the sun, so I always wear one.

The book on my bedside table is Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff. I didn’t know too much about her – the basics, of course; she’s one of the few women in history almost everyone can tell you something about – but what I’m learning from this book is totally fascinating. She wasn’t that beautiful, for instance; but she was deeply intelligent and wielded huge power.

In my fridge you’ll always find Coca-Cola, champagne, white wine and chocolates. I don’t really know what else is in there regularly. But I always put my chocolates there, so I know they’re a regular – and only ever milk chocolates.

The people I rely on for grooming and style are, for my face, Patricia Wexler – the best dermatologist in the world. It’s important to have healthy skin as well as pretty skin, and she really understands that. My hair is cut by Linda and coloured by Merida, both at Gerard Bollei. And my nutritionist is Dr Jairo Rodriguez – fabulous! He tells you exactly what to eat and not to be on a diet all the time, because diets are the most boring things in the world, aren’t they? Gerard Bollei, 115 East 57th Street, New York 10022 (+1212-759 7985; www.gerardbollei.com). Dr Jairo Rodriguez, +1212-489 7494. Patricia Wexler MD, +1212-684 2626.

The last item I added to my wardrobe was a little cord bracelet that you wrap around your arm. It has a stone – a beautiful chalcedony – and it was designed by Prince Dimitri of Yugoslavia. It’s leather, and you can take a bath with it and the cord just gets darker. It’s one of those you keep on, beautiful and modern. +1646-747 2526.

A recent find is a tiny restaurant in St John’s Wood called L’Aventure. We were taken there by [Vanity Fair editor] Graydon Carter and his wife Anna, and it’s just fabulous. It’s a local place that not many people know; it’s fairly tiny with just a few tables, but the food is classic, unpretentious and delicious. 3 Blenheim Terrace, London NW8 (020-7624 6232; www.laventure.co.uk).

The best gift I’ve given recently is a pair of 18th-century porcelain Chinese roosters, to my husband for his birthday. They came from The Chinese Porcelain Company, which has the most gorgeous antiques. 475 Park Avenue at 58th Street, New York 10022 (+1212-838 7744; www.chineseporcelainco.com).

And the best one I’ve received recently is a pair of marquise chairs by Georges Jacob, which Reinaldo gave me. They also came from Chinese Porcelain. Maybe he saw me admiring them – we are in there a lot.

The site that inspires me is the Royal Crescent in Bath. And the Place Vendôme in Paris. Two very different spaces, and different architecture, but they fit in their places. The important thing is that they look good where they are – they are perfectly proportioned. It’s like a dress; the prettiest dress loses its appeal if it doesn’t work on the person. And the Parthenon really is the most impressive place in the world... I could keep talking and give you a list that is far too long.

My favourite website is 1stdibs.com. And I like the Vanity Fair website. And the blog of [Vogue Japan’s] Anna Dello Russo – she’s original and fun and creative and truly different. www.1stdibs.com. www.annadellorusso.com. www.vanityfair.com.