April 28 2014
Mark C O’Flaherty
My personal style signifier is a grey suit. I’m synonymous with it. I started wearing this kind of single-breasted American style about 12 years ago, originally shopping for vintage pieces in Goodwill thrift stores in Los Angeles. Now I wear my own label. From $2,200; www.thombrowne.com.
The last thing I bought and loved was a set of vintage Jacques Adnet side chairs from 1stdibs. I needed chairs and was drawn to their simplicity. They are French, from the 1960s, with brown leather seats and brass legs. www.1stdibs.com.
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a Giò Ponti desk. It’s a particular piece he created for use in the rooms of the Parco dei Principi hotel in Rome in the 1960s. As with Adnet’s work, I like the simplicity of the design. I find utilitarian style very attractive. They used to have such beautiful features and details in hotel rooms in Italy around that era, but many people would find them too simple today.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is The Point in the Adirondacks, a magical place on Lake Saranac in New York state that not even many Americans know about. It’s an old Rockefeller camp with an amazing history. It’s beautifully quiet, with just 11 guest rooms, so it never gets crowded. It has all the original log-cabin structures. It’s a truly American experience. From $1,500 for two adults; 222 Beaverwood Road, Saranac Lake, New York, NY 12983 (+1518-891 5674; www.thepointresort.com).
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is John Singer Sargent. His use of colour is extraordinary, and his portraits are beautiful. The one called Madame X, painted in 1884, was the first one I saw. The collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is amazing, and I saw an excellent show at the Frick Collection a while ago, too.
The last accessory I added to my wardrobe was a vintage white-gold Patek Philippe watch. I think it’s from the 1970s, although it could be the late 1960s. I’m amazed at how Patek Philippe creates automatic watches that are so thin. It’s just incredible. I now own two of them. www.patek.com.
A recent “find” is a restaurant called Cibus, in Paris. It’s tiny – it only seats 16 people – and very close to the Tuileries and the Palais Royal. As with most things, it was the simplicity of the interior that attracted me. And, of course, the food – it serves organic Italian dishes that are prepared using freshly sourced, seasonal produce from the market. 5 Rue Molière, Paris 75001 (+331-4261 5019).
The grooming staple I’m never without is Hermès eau de cologne, Eau d’Orange Verte. I like the green bottle and the orange fragrance. It’s a very clean smell. £62 for 100ml; www.hermes.com.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a 1940s gold Tiffany watch that I gave to a friend for Christmas. Another friend found it in Los Angeles for me. I like how simple it is. And the strap is beautiful; essentially it’s a gold bracelet. www.tiffany.co.uk.
And the best one I’ve received recently is a tea set that belonged to Queen Victoria. It’s blue and white, with a teapot, cream and sugar bowls, four cups and saucers and a tray. I love English silver tea sets, but this is my first porcelain one. The provenance makes it interesting.
The last meal that truly impressed me was dinner at Sushi Kanesaka in Tokyo. I love the way the sushi is prepared with such attention to detail. It’s beautiful to watch. The restaurant has a very understated interior in a classic Japanese style. And the food is perfection. 8-10-3 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo (+813-5568 4411).
My favourite website is Live Auctioneers, for vintage furniture, alongside a variety of real estate sites, because at the moment I’m looking for the perfect house outside New York city. I haven’t managed to find exactly what I want yet, but I am enjoying the search. www.liveauctioneers.com.