Style | The Aesthete

Victoire de Castellane talks personal style

The designer of Dior Fine Jewellery collections since 1998, Victoire de Castellane was awarded the Légion d’Honneur in 2007.

November 26 2009
Maria Shollenbarger

My personal style signifier is a plain black Alaïa dress. Or occasionally a coloured one – pink or brown. It’s the best piece of armour, and it’s above fashion – I have some that I bought five, 10 years ago, and they’re still completely relevant. It’s all about the shape with Alaïa: they’re feminine but strong, almost architectural – and never vulgar. Azzedine Alaïa at Browns, 24-27 South Molton Street, London W1 (020-7514 0016; www.brownsfashion.com) and Matches (0870-067 8838; www.matchesfashion.com).

The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of bespoke cowboy boots from Rocketbuster. They’re the most recent addition to my collection; I own many, and I’ll be ordering more. As boots go, they’re very narrative; in this pair one shows a multicoloured Virgin Mary surrounded by angels, and the other has dancing skeletons. www.rocketbuster.com.

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a selection of vintage comic books featuring my favourite childhood characters, Aggie and Lili.

A recent “find” of mine is the painter Camille Bonbois in the Musée Maillol. He was a great “naïf” painter, who started out as a circus wrestler before deciding to dedicated himself to painting. He had no significant career success in his lifetime, but he had a total devotion to his work, his art, which is so poetic, and surreal. 61 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007 (+331-4222 5958; www.museemaillol.com).

The book on my bedside table is Sur le Rêve by Freud, because I’m fascinated by psychology, particularly the unconscious and the role it plays. There are also some copies of [French men’s fashion magazine] Paradis, which is essentially around because my husband produces it. It’s quite exotic to me, since I live in an almost completely feminine world.

The grooming staples I’m never without are Fluocaril toothpaste and my good boar-bristle Mason Pearson hairbrush. www.fluocaril.fr. www.masonpearson.com.

The artist whose work I would collect if I could is Picasso. In his last years, you can feel an incredible defiance towards death, and his work gets even bolder.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Tokyo. The way the traditional and contemporary cohabit and the feeling of being totally alien to the place are completely stimulating. I love its energy – it’s like New York in the quality of its buzz, but somehow more controlled. And actually safer, which is nice.

In my fridge you’ll always find only organic food, especially goat’s cheeses from all regions of France. If I don’t get them from Barthélémy, I get them online at Androuet. Fromagerie Barthélémy, 51 Rue de Grenelle, Paris 75007 (+331-4222 8224). Androuet, www.androuet.com.

The best gift I’ve given recently was a very nice black Yamaha piano d’études to my six-year-old daughter. I think it’s the loveliest thing to hear your child playing an instrument, though I don’t want to force her to do so. But you help your child find what he or she likes by providing the opportunities, so we’ll see… Personally, I feel you can really dream when you’re playing music. www.uk.yamaha.com.

And the best one I’ve received recently was an evening bag in the shape of a book, designed by Olympia Le-Tan (€1,015). It’s covered in black and red embroidered fabric, and is charming and totally unique. Also, some sharp advice from my stepmother, who told me that the living room doesn’t need daily vacuuming. Basically, she was telling me to relax. www.olympialetan.com; and see Colette, 213 Rue St Honoré, Paris 75001 (+331-5535 3390; www.colette.fr).

The last music I bought was the complete work of Frank Sinatra, and also of Claudine Longet. I’ll get fixated on certain songs or records, then buy them and listen to them for six months.

An indulgence I’d never forego is chocolate with hazelnuts. My favourite is by Debauve & Gallais. www.debauve-et-gallais.com.

My favourite websites are Brownsfashion.com and eBay – because both have selections that are very different from what you’ll find in Paris for my two favourite things to shop for: shoes and Alaïa clothes.