Style | The Aesthete

Victoire de Castellane talks personal style: Part Two

Dior’s Fine Jewellery designer reveals more of her aesthetic inclinations.

November 27 2009
Maria Shollenbarger

My style icons are Louise Bourgeois, because she’s never had any plastic surgery. Getting older means not changing who you are, still being recognisable. Also, Snow White’s stepmother in the [Disney animated] movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, for her perfect bone structure; and [comic-book heroine] Vampirella, because she is so powerful-looking in a swimsuit.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently was a pair of kimonos from an antiques shop in Tokyo called Ikeda. The owner collects vintage silks and kimono remnants; I had two made from a selection of her fabrics. One is black, the other is a bright purple, and both have beautiful lamé belts. 52211101 Shirogane-dai, Minato-Ku, Tokyo (+813-3445 1269).

The site that inspires me is the Mediterranean, for the smells and strong colours – ideally enjoyed from the west coast of Italy, specifically southern Tuscany, or the Amalfi Coast around Positano.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d actually ask for two blocks in two different cities, home to the world’s two best department stores: Le Bon Marché in Paris and Barneys in New York. Le Bon Marché because it has everything and is never uncivilised: there’s always space, it’s quiet, never thronged. And Barneys always feels fresh and happy to me, even if it’s just about consuming things. I mean, you can’t be blue there. That red-and-white logo – I’m smiling just thinking about it. Le Bon Marché, 24 Rue des Sèvres, Paris 75007 (+331-4439 8000; www.lebonmarche.com). Barneys New York, 660 Madison Avenue, New York 10021 (+1212-826 8900; www.barneys.com).

An object I’d never part with is my mobile phone, an old Samsung. I’m not interested in gadgets; it just allows me to be reachable in case of emergency.

My favourite room is any one of my children’s bedrooms. Because their childhood won’t last, those spaces feel incredibly precious. It’s an entirely emotional thing as they all look quite different.

If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is New York, which is all to do with the energy. I don’t know if it’s quite as good as it used to be there; all the places where a great deal of money is being spent seem to have become homogeneous. There’s a bit too much uniformity, no? So yes, if I had to leave Paris, I’d go to New York and try to change it back a bit to how it was.

The last meal that left me truly impressed was at the restaurant La Cagouille in Paris, the only place in town I know of that serves couteaux (razor clams). I love it because there’s never, ever, anyone even remotely associated with the fashion industry in sight. 10 Place Constantin Brancusi, Paris 75014 (+331-4322 0901; www.la-cagouille.fr).

If I weren’t doing what I do now, I’d be a psychoanalyst, because the mind is the most fascinating box on earth. For my part, I work very hard on my own psychoanalysis. It’s heavy, passionate work, but also very brave and rewarding. I know more of myself, and see and understand the people around me more clearly. I know some say that to explore these things too deeply can change, or dilute, your creativity; but I don’t agree. I think it helps you to better find your creativity.