January 03 2012
My personal style signifier is my Panerai watch – an Italian aviator watch from the 1940s. I’ve had it for 10 years and it reminds me of a very special trip to Venice, which is where I bought it. Of all the watches I own, this is the one I always go back to. It’s rather like me: a little bit obvious, and quite resilient. It’s made of steel. I love steel, and platinum, but unfortunately a platinum Panerai would be a month’s wages. And my steel watch does wear nicely with my platinum wedding ring. www.panerai.com.
The last thing I bought and loved was my new dog, Bobby, a rescue from the Greek island of Lesbos. He’s half Jack Russell and half spaniel. A lot of people ask me, “What’s wrong with Battersea Dogs Home?” To which I say, if there is a creature on this earth that needs rescuing, it doesn’t really matter where you rescue it, as long as you do it. I always think black-and-white dogs look rather great with a red collar, so Bobby will be styled with one. www.battersea.org.uk.
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of Edwin jeans. In the summer I bought a pair of Edwin chinos from my favourite men’s store, Trunk, in Marylebone. It’s a Japanese brand; they are well cut and look good on someone who’s not 21. I think I look really snappy in them. www.edwin-europe.com. Trunk, 8 Chiltern Street, London W1 (020-7486 2357; www.trunkclothiers.com).
The last music I downloaded/bought was All In A Day, an album by an amazing chanteuse called Cousin Alice. I was walking through Battersea Park about two years ago and she was doing a gig for the National Trust – I was so arrested by her voice, I stopped to watch. Afterwards, I nipped round the back and got her card. I saw her a year later playing at the Boisdale club, and the next Saturday night she was kind enough to play for me in my garden. She’s an absolute star. Boisdale of Belgravia, 15 Eccleston Street, London SW1 (020-7730 6922; www.boisdale.co.uk). www.cousinalice.com.
An object I would never part with is the square-footed, 18th-century rummer, from Guinevere antiques, which was the inspiration to start my crystal business in 1994. I thought it was such a magical glass that I wanted to make a few more, so I wouldn’t be the only person to be seen drinking out of this great chalice. 574-580 King’s Road, London SW6 (020-7736 2917; www.guinevere.co.uk).
The people I rely on for grooming and style include Jenny at The Nail Boutique. I discovered her about 18 months ago. I was going to the US to do a book signing; I looked at my fingers and was horrified. Jenny sat me down and £18 later I came out looking like a movie star. And Derek at Me Hair Beauty has been cutting my hair – well, when I had hair – for 25 years now. Me Hair Beauty, 10 Abingdon Road, London W8 (020-7937 9977; www.mehairbeauty.com). The Nail Boutique, Chelsea Farmers’ Market, 125 Sydney Street, London SW3 (020-7351 1166).
A recent “find” is an antiques dealer called James Graham-Stewart. He has an eye so refined you’d think he was 100 years old, but he’s only in his 30s. I last bought an 1840 Staffordshire Imari-style vase from him. It’s the most breathtaking piece of pottery I’ve seen in a long time. Core 1, The Gasworks, 2 Michael Road, London SW6 (020-3490 0406; www.jamesgraham-stewart.com).
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a navy Aspesi down jacket from Rialto Living in Palma, Mallorca. It’s like a tailored blazer, but with feathers inside it. www.aspesi.com. Rialto Living, Carrer Sant Feliu 3C, 07012 Palma de Mallorca (+349-7171 3331; www.rialtoliving.com).
The books on my bedside table are Smut by Alan Bennett – it’s very funny. Being from the north of England, I’ve always been a massive Bennett fan. And I was determined to finish The Help by Kathryn Stockett before the film came out and failed, so that’s there too.
My favourite websites are the John Martin Gallery – he represents two artists I collect: Fred Yates and John Caple – and John Lewis, which is rather boring but a true favourite. I’m mad about the practical. I love that I can get that thing to unplug my drains without calling the plumber out. www.jmlondon.com. www.johnlewis.com.