June 08 2011
Simon de Burton
My personal style signifier is bespoke clothing, something I’ve been interested in from around the age of 14, when my father took me to buy my first suit. My suits are made at Henry Poole in Savile Row – I always go for a two-button coat, cut in at the waist, and a fairly narrow trouser leg. 15 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7734 5985; www.henrypoole.com).
The last thing I bought and loved is a 1970 photograph by Slim Aarons, famous for his images of socialites and celebrities. I am kitting out a new apartment in Chelsea and this photo, Poolside Party, is a focal point. It measures 2.5m x 2m and shows a group of people by the pool of the Palm Springs house that Richard Neutra designed for Edgar Kaufmann. I am fascinated by architecture, and that is one of my dream homes.
The thing I am eyeing next – or, at least, searching for – is a table to go on the balcony in Chelsea. I have a set of Verner Panton chairs and I’d love to find a matching table, although I haven’t yet discovered whether or not such a thing exists. www.vitra.com.
An unforgettable place I have travelled to in the past year is Venice. It is hardly an unusual destination, but my visit there was really special. We were working on the Evoque promotion in Bologna and our flight was delayed, so we decided to pop to Venice for the afternoon. We were taken along the Grand Canal in a Riva speedboat and stopped for lunch at De Pisis at the Bauer Il Palazzo hotel. The weather was grey and damp, but it just seemed to add to the enchantment of the place. www.bauerhotels.com.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a book about Mies van der Rohe. I bought it from the Taschen store in Beverly Hills, along with another about the work of Richard Neutra. I very much admire what Benedikt Taschen has done in producing affordable, high-quality art books. www.taschen.com.
My favourite room is the one I use as my den in the modernist house that I spent three years designing in Warwickshire, near to my office at Land Rover. The room is at the bottom of the house and was described by one journalist as the sort of place you might expect to find the Rat Pack. It is furnished with a B&B Italia sofa, Florence Knoll chairs, a 50in Bang & Olufsen screen and my collection of Josef Albers prints. There is a sliding partition behind which used to be a swimming pool – but I have made it into a tranquil bedroom.
The last music I bought is something I can’t remember. But I have recently discovered the Absolute 80s station on digital radio. It is very much music from my era, and there aren’t too many interruptions from DJs. www.absolute80s.com.
The books on my bedside table currently include Ben Kane’s novel The Forgotten Legion and Empire: Arrows of Fury by Anthony Riches. I’m usually reading at least one thing about the Roman Empire.
In my fridge you’ll always find tofu sausages, white fish and a bottle of Dom Pérignon. I am very keen on healthy eating, so you’ll never find jars of baby food in there. Everything my baby daughter, Vanessa, eats is made using fresh ingredients.
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a three-piece suit in a rich birdseye cloth by H Lesser, probably the world’s finest cloth producer. It was made at Henry Poole but I have sent it back for a few refinements – I’m an extreme perfectionist and have to have things exactly right.
The best gift I’ve given recently was a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, for my wife, Olga. She stopped wearing high heels for a while when she was pregnant and for a few months after the birth of our daughter. They mark her return to normality. www.christianlouboutin.com.
And the best one I’ve received is, of course, my daughter, who was born last May. I was never keen on the idea of having children, but now I realise it is nothing to be afraid of, and it’s also an excuse to buy some cool furniture, such as Bloom’s baby chairs. www.bloombaby.com.
If I were not doing what I do, I would have loved to be an architect. Ironically, Adrian Baynes, the architect with whom I designed my house in Warwickshire, always wanted to be a car designer.