May 10 2011
My personal style signifier is a bespoke suit – by Ozwald Boateng, of course. At any one time, there are up to 40 tailored suits in my wardrobe, which I rotate constantly. 30 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7440 5231; www.ozwaldboateng.co.uk).
The people I rely on for grooming and style are my barber, Christopher Foster, and my manicurist/pedicurist, Margaret Dabbs. Chris is head stylist at Gentlemen’s Tonic in Bruton Place and has won Black Hair and Beauty Awards’ barber of the year three times. I usually have a clipper shave, followed by a facial scrub and face massage with steaming hot towels. It’s totally relaxing and gives me the opportunity to zone out for 30 minutes twice a week. Margaret does the most brilliant pedicures and manicures in Marylebone. Gentlemen’s Tonic, 31a Bruton Place, London W1 (020-7297 4343; www.gentlemenstonic.com). Margaret Dabbs, 7 New Cavendish St, London W1 (020-7487 5510; www.margaretdabbs.co.uk).
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Kenya. I went there on safari with my two young sons. We took a light aircraft to various places, including Ol Seki Mara Camp in the Maasai Mara, Hippo Point Estate on the shores of Lake Naivasha and Manda Bay in Lamu, all of which were extraordinary. For instance, on our very first outing at 4am, we saw lions just after a kill. On previous holidays, we’d tended to go to LA. So this really was an incredible family experience. www.hippopointkenya.com. www.mandabay.com. www.olseki.com.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is the most exquisite Saudi coat, which I was given by Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud after attending his wedding. It’s a traditional coat that is meant to be worn at ceremonies and celebrations.
The thing I’m eyeing next is a new four-door Aston Martin Rapide. Currently, I’m driving a Maserati and before that I had a Bentley GT. Ironically, I’d always wanted an Aston Martin DB7, but realised it was too small for me to get into. Now I’ve trialled the Rapide for a few weeks, I’m completely ready for it – and can’t wait to buy it. From £149,995; www.astonmartin.com.
A recent “find” is Coworth Park hotel in Ascot, which opened last year. It’s a proper weekend escape in the country. I really like the contemporary interiors – no country house clichés here – as well as the great spa and restaurant. Blacknest Rd, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7SE (01344-876 600; www.coworthpark.com).
The last music I downloaded was the latest Sade album Soldier of Love. I grew up with Sade’s music in the mid-1980s and she symbolises a lot for me. In this album, her voice is better than ever and there are two or three tracks I play over and over again. The other song I am into right now is Hold My Hand, the Michael Jackson duet with Akon. www.michaeljackson.com. www.sade.com.
The book on my bedside table is Microsoft Encarta Africana, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr and Anthony Appiah. It’s the definitive encyclopedia on the history of Africa and a gazillion pages long.
In my fridge you’ll always find some Dom Pérignon and a bottle of Russian Standard Vodka. I wasn’t a vodka drinker until I went to Russia, where they drink it ice cold. I drink it neat and never get a hangover. www.domperignon.com. www.russianstandardvodka.com.
The best gifts I’ve given recently were the Canon EOS 1000D cameras I gave my kids for our Kenyan safari. They captured some incredibly creative footage, which will be a permanent reminder of our best-ever holiday. About £500; www.canon.co.uk.
And the best one I’ve received recently is my BlackBerry Torch. I love beautifully designed gadgets. I couldn’t function without it now. http://uk.blackberry.com.
The site that inspires me is the new Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. It was designed by the architect David Adjaye, who is a great friend of mine. I went out there for the launch in September and was blown away by both its design and scale. To my eye, it has a unique African influence.
My favourite website is Nowness. As far as I am concerned, it’s easily the best example of brand-generated content to date. www.nowness.com.