The Aesthete: Katharine Pooley talks personal taste

The interior designer has a boutique on London’s Walton Street and clients drawn to her eclectic aesthetic, based on her travels to over 150 countries

Katharine Pooley at her home in London, wearing a dress by Valentino
Katharine Pooley at her home in London, wearing a dress by Valentino | Image: Trent McMinn

My personal style signifier is a brooch given to me by my father, which he bought in Burma in the 1980s. The stones – amethysts, pink diamonds and three different shades of sapphire – are uncut and unpolished, so they are rounded and soft-looking. It has great sentimental value and I can wear it with anything.

Pooley’s 1962 BMW Isetta 300 bubble car
Pooley’s 1962 BMW Isetta 300 bubble car | Image: © Trent McMinn

The last thing I bought and loved was a grey‑blue 1962 BMW Isetta 300 bubble car. I bought it for the school run, so I needed something small and nippy. I lined it with Holland & Sherry cashmere plaid and covered the seats with thick Ralph Lauren shearling for comfort.


An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Mauritius. I went there last year for the first time and intend to return regularly as it offers the perfect combination of sports and sun. I stayed at the Paradis Hotel & Golf Club [pictured], where the sports facilities – golf, tennis, waterskiing – and the food are amazing. There is plenty for my youngsters Jack, six, and Charlie, four, to enjoy. No mosquitoes and no time-zone changes are a bonus. From €230;

The Paradis Hotel & Golf Club, Mauritius
The Paradis Hotel & Golf Club, Mauritius

A recent “find” is Mostly Boxes, an antiques shop in Eton that sells lovely little collectable pieces. I bought a walking stick with a monkey carved into it, a pair of very delicate, shell pince-nez and a beautiful mother-of-pearltea caddy. 93 High Street, Eton, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 6AF (01753-865 447;

An antique mother-of-pearl tea caddy from Mostly Boxes 
An antique mother-of-pearl tea caddy from Mostly Boxes  | Image: © Trent McMinn

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Sexy Fish. I went there recently for a girlfriend’s birthday celebration and loved the Asian-inspired tasting dishes. The highlights were chilli beef infused with coconut and herbs, and an aubergine dish with chilli and garlic. It’s a very social, lively place and the flamboyant decor and artworks are fun. Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1 (020‑3764 2000;

Sexy Fish restaurant, Mayfair
Sexy Fish restaurant, Mayfair | Image: © Paul Winch-Furness

The best gift I’ve given recently was a day spent as a zookeeper at London Zoo. I gave it to my best friend after having enjoyed this wonderful opportunity myself. It’s an engrossing experience and really teaches you how much hard work is involved in caring for the animals. And London Zoo certainly needs our support. From £280;

Benefit Hoola bronzer, £23.50
Benefit Hoola bronzer, £23.50

An indulgence I’d never forgo is Godiva’s Truffle Speculoos chocolates. They’re inspired by the traditional Belgian biscuit, speculoos, and are utterly irresistible, with a light mousse centre. I buy them loose in bags from Godiva’s in-store shop at Harrods. £25;


The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Valentino dress that I wore when my father, Robert Pooley, received an MBE at Buckingham Palace for services to aviation. It is a very pretty, quite classical, wool, lace and silk-crepe mix in teal-blue. I think it looks very Grace Kelly. £1,149;

The beauty staples I’m never without are Benefit’s Hoola Bronzer, an all‑day powder that gives you a fantastic glow. I find Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream and Magic Night Rescue Cream moisturisers extremely effective. £23.50; Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, £70, and Magic Night Rescue Cream, £100 for 50ml;

My favourite websites are, which streams inspiring and educational videos of talks from expert speakers on business, education, science, tech and creativity;, a brilliantly curated shopping site for luxury design and interiors products; and, as soon as I wake up, I always check for the news and weather.

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