Style | The Aesthete

Harry Handelsman talks personal style

Manhattan Loft Corporation CEO Harry Handelsman co-owns and renovated St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London.

August 02 2011
Emma Crichton-Miller

My personal style signifier is my Ermenegildo Zegna Centennial Limited Edition Watch, made by Girard-Perregaux. To me, true elegance is about subtleties that no one notices. Zegna is this fabulous name associated with fashion and the finest quality of design – but not at all known for watches. And yet it has created this very beautiful, classic watch for its centenary. £25,000; www.zegna.com.

The things I am eyeing next are some artworks with an option to buy, from a really fantastic German gallery called Sprüth Magers. Among them are prints by Nina Pohl, a wonderful German artist. 7a Grafton Street, London W1 (020-7408 1613; www.spruethmagers.com).

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Dead Sea. Although I go to Israel regularly, I had not been to the Dead Sea for a very long time. To me, the desert and water are an amazing combination. But there is also an area there called Masada. The sheer scale of this man-made fortress, this edifice that Herod built once upon a time, is spectacular.

The best souvenirs I’ve brought home are snapshots of minibars from various hotels I’ve stayed at – or of particular rooms – wherever I am travelling. I take them on my iPhone. I adapt the things that have impressed me for my own uses.

The people I rely on for grooming and style include Carmelo Guastella, who is a hairdresser and has a shop called Melogy Men’s Grooming Ltd in the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. He is charming, Sicilian, and people come from all over the world to get their hair cut by him. Euston Road, London NW1 (020-7383 0027; www.melogy.com).

A recent find is Pizza East in Shoreditch, an enormous but beautiful pizza place. When I saw it, I thought, “I wish I had done this.” It is owned by Nick Jones of Soho House. He recently opened a Pizza East on Portobello Road. It is tiny, but with delicious pizzas, a great atmosphere and friendly service. It feels authentic. 59 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 (020-7729 1888; www.pizzaeast.com) and 310 Portobello Road, London W1 (020-8969 4500).

The books on my bedside table are Nemesis by Philip Roth, which I really liked – for the sadness of the stories and the main character; it’s a true tragedy of the time. And then there’s Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, which I think is stunning. His books are weird, they fall all over the place, but the writing is wonderful. And I’ve just begun Simon Sebag Montefiore’s Jerusalem: The Biography, which I am not so sure about. I would really like to read an interpretation of what makes Jerusalem tick, because of its role as the focus for so many religions and the problems that arise from that.

The last item I added to my wardrobe was a custom-made shirt from Spencer Hart. It’s a tailor’s owned by my very good friend Nick Hart, and I think it is really great. He does suits, which I love wearing, but more recently I have started getting my shirts made there, and having shirts custom-made is wonderful. From £250; 36 Savile Row, London W1 (020-7434 0000; www.spencerhart.com).

In my fridge you will always find wine. And nothing much else. I love my yoghurt, and I absolutely love eating, but I eat out a lot. If I want to stay in, I will eat crisps. I am a bit of a philistine regarding cooking.

The best gift I have given recently was a Bottega Veneta Ebano Intrecciato bag, to my daughter Maya, who recently graduated from Wharton Business School in Pennsylvania. She was so delighted. From £1,255; www.bottegaveneta.com.

The best one I have received was from Allegra, my younger daughter, who appreciates my keenness for collecting art, so she painted me a little abstract.

If I did not live in London, the city I would live in is Tel Aviv. It has supposedly one of the largest concentrations of Bauhaus buildings – architecture that I love. And because it is Mediterranean, it has a carefree society, so you hang out outside. And it has the beach. It’d be wonderful to have an apartment overlooking the sea, hearing the waves, yet being in a city that isn’t too small, with a sense of culture.