October 04 2011
My personal style signifier is a dark blue pinstripe blazer. I had a couple made at Paul Smith and a few bespoke at Gieves & Hawkes. You think, “Wow, it’s a lot of money”, but by the time you’ve had your sixth fitting you’re desperate to have it finished. We will have 20 shops by the end of the year so I spend a lot more time talking to the suited and booted. I used to be quite scruffy but I thought if you just look smart every day, if meetings pop up you don’t suddenly panic. www.gievesandhawkes.com. www.paulsmith.co.uk.
The last thing I bought and loved was a bag by Bill Amberg. It’s light brown and looks a bit like a doctor’s bag, so I use it as a briefcase, but it’s also great for travelling. Bill makes things so beautifully; I’m always trying to get him to stick to just doing men’s stuff because he’s so good at it. Everything’s really strong and resistant; nothing’s precious or delicate. No 9 Shepherd Market, London W1 (020-7499 0962; www.billamberg.com).
A recent “find” is the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. I go to New York a lot, to evangelise The Rug Company, and stayed there recently. It’s owned by Robert De Niro and is charming, relaxed and decoratively easy on the eye. Unlike many New York hotels, there are no black-suited crows drafted in as staff while they wait to be actors or screenwriters. 377 Greenwich Street, New York 10013 (+1212-941 8900; www.thegreenwichhotel.com).
The grooming staples I’m never without are nail scissors – men with long fingernails really give me the creeps – and Moroccanoil, for my hair, to stop it flopping about. It has a fantastic smell. 01296-620 555; moroccanoil.com.
The last meal that truly impressed me was green eggs and ham at Pizza East on Portobello Road. It’s a breakfast of eggs, ham and pesto on a bun. It’s delicious. It’s great because we can walk there from home. 310 Portobello Road, London W10 (020-8969 4500; www.pizzaeastportobello.com).
The books on my bedside table are WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding. And I just read a book called 1000 Years of Annoying the French by Stephen Clarke. It’s hysterical. It takes you through our relationship with the French, and all the wars. We come out looking pretty bad.
In my fridge you’ll always find Green & Black’s chocolate; blueberries – for some reason we get through a lot of blueberries – chillies, and coriander. And wine; my friend Julian Chamberlen at Goedhuis & Co keeps our fridge packed. www.greenandblacks.com; www.goedhuis.com.
The last music I downloaded was Distant Relatives by Nas and Damian Marley. My musical taste used to be an embarrassing throwback, but it’s been brought up to date by my son, Nick. Obviously, I never give him credit for it. I just smile and say, “Well, you know, you’ve got to keep current.”
The best gift I’ve given recently was a Jubilee Wall Hanging for the Camerons, which was their gift to the Obamas. We’d made one for the Camerons when they came into Number 10. A newspaper published a list of everyone who’d given them gifts, which read something like: Berlusconi – a goblet; Sarkozy – wine; Putin – a gun; Chris and Suzanne Sharp – a wall hanging. It was hysterical.
An object I would never part with is an old Mercedes 220SE 1965 convertible, which I’ve had for 15 years. We’ve got a place in Umbria in Italy and I’ve done lots of road trips there with the kids, individually. It’s always breaking down, but it’s wonderful.
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a bespoke suit by the late Gordon Cooper. He was a wonderful retired Savile Row tailor who still did private commissions, but sadly he died recently.
My favourite websites are Amazon – I had to buy a telly and it took me 30 seconds – and I love the Ted lectures; I’ll listen to a couple when I’m travelling. And Vimeo, because it’s more edited than YouTube, and better presented. And I’m a big fan of WikiLeaks. I wasn’t quite sure at the beginning, but I’m a convert. www.amazon.co.uk. www.ted.com/talks. www.vimeo.com. www.wikileaks.org.