Style | The Aesthete

Giulio Cappellini talks personal style: Part Two

The head of the global design company puts the finishing touches to his catalogue of tasteful revelations.

April 15 2011
Maria Shollenbarger

My style icon is [US Vogue creative director] Grace Coddington. She’s always perfect, and she’s always natural, which is not nothing, you know? That rarely happens. She is really incredible.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Sydney; a very contemporary but very livable city. You do not feel distant from the world, but in a lively and multicultural place, very forward-looking. The quality of life is excellent; the people are very friendly. I visited many art galleries that showed works by local artists and really excellent, interesting young designers. And the cityscape, which mixes the old with the new, is amazing.

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home was also from Sydney – I found some old fabric painted by hand, I’m fairly sure from an Aboriginal tribe. They’ve been doing them for hundreds of years, so the designs are historical – but they are utterly contemporary.

My favourite room is my living room. It’s a mix of everything – contemporary pieces, our prototypes and furniture from the 1950s; contemporary art and some very old pieces I’ve bought in China and Morocco, with perhaps some kids’ robots from Japan. I have a very modern Jasper Morrison table with an antique sofa made in France, covered in fabric that came from Africa. I’ve got a classic Saarinen Tulip table surrounded by a collection of unmatched old chairs. And I have about an eight-metre-long wall of books. Objects are important because they’re part of your life; how would you say it? – they’re evidence of your life.

In my fridge you’ll always find chocolate and cheese. I like very strong cheeses, such as Stilton. I can easily go for two weeks without meat, but could not get through a single one without a good cheese.

The site that inspires me is MoMA in New York. It’s one of so many, really – I’m a curious person and think you can easily find inspiration all over the world. But when I am there I am always struck. It’s an alchemy – the way the building and the collections combine. And they put on the most extraordinary exhibitions.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Alle Cucina delle Langhe, a small and unassuming restaurant in Corso Como in Milan. I like very simple food, and it does these penne al pomodoro that are totally simple and perfect. They really are the very best in the world. Corso Como 6, 20154 Milan (+3902-655 4279).

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the souk in Marrakech, because I think it’s one of the last places you’ll find things you cannot find in the centre of Milan or New York. Globalisation has made it so difficult to buy original gifts. Everything you find here, you now can find there, and there, and in this other place too. In Marrakech you are in a place where, I think, you can be sure to find something that will be unique – for a few months anyway. I collect old ceramics and glasses, so for me it is ideal. And, of course, there is a strong inspiration from the colour palette there.

The grooming staples I’m never without are all the products in the Biotherm men’s line – I like all of them, but the aftershave is a particular favourite.

If I didn’t live in Milan, the city I would live in is either Paris or Marrakech. Paris because when I’m there I feel at home, and I like the differences between the arrondissements. Milan is one city with just one centre, but in Paris you have lots of different centres, lots of different cultures. I like the multiple dimensions of that. I especially love the Place des Vosges – the architecture is so inspiring. And the atmosphere in Paris is fantastic; 20 years ago I lived in Brera, in Milan, and now it’s totally different – completely gentrified; that’s what you feel happening to the Marais now.

Marrakech is simply magical, in the same way as Venice is, but not quite as tiresome to live there, I’d imagine. I absolutely loved staying in the Mamounia. It has, of course, been completely redone – but I think I preferred the old one. La Mamounia, Avenue Bab Jdid, 4040 Marrakech (+212-524 388 600;; from £460.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a director of the calibre of Almodóvar. I think we always have to try to dream through real life, and he projects this dreamlike state. Visconti was also like this. Almodóvar always gives you surprises, and he’s always – always – perfect in details.