The Aesthete: Bodo Sperlein talks more personal taste

The creative director concludes his list of likes with the fragrance Sale Marino, shopping in Schöneberg and art nouveau architecture

Bodo Sperlein at home in London
Bodo Sperlein at home in London | Image: Gabby Laurent

My style icon is the actor Steve McQueen, for his smart-casual, understated and timeless style.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Norway. I went there on a work trip for the first time this year and was completely bowled over. The fjords and mountains are breathtaking; you can be sure you will be served only the best, freshest seafood; and Ålesund, where I stayed, is full of the most incredible art nouveau architecture. The Jugendstilsenteret, an old pharmacy building that is now a museum and centre for art nouveau, made a strong impression. Apotekergata 16, 6004 Ålesund (+477-010 4970;

Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen | Image: Alamy

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a set of coconut-shell cooking spoons from a street market in Bangkok. I’ve used them every day for a decade and they’re still in perfect working order.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Lorne, a newish restaurant in my neighbourhood serving innovative, modern food. I ate a sublime crayfish “porridge” – it is actually a pearl barley risotto – with crispy chicken wings, followed by venison with pease pudding, beetroot and pistachio, all paired with some really interesting wines chosen by the sommelier, Katie Exton. 76 Wilton Rd, London SW1 (020-3327 0210;


The best book I’ve read in the past year is Eye to I: Autobiography of a Photographer. It’s about Erwin Blumenfeld, one of the most influential fashion photographers in New York in the 1950s. His storytelling is as vividly detailed as his photographs.

The last music I downloaded was California Light by Childhood, from their Universal High album. With the current global turmoil, I need this kind of uplifting music.

Ålesund, Norway
Ålesund, Norway | Image: Alamy

In my fridge you’ll always find a variety of berries and Normandy or Breton butter – the type with the sea-salt crystals. Good butter and fresh bread go so well together that you don’t need anything else – except perhaps some Tiptree Tawny Orange marmalade, which has just the right ratio of sugar to fruit. £2.09;

An indulgence I would never forgo is Artisan du Chocolat’s 100 per cent Chocolate Bar. It is so full of antioxidants, I can feel good while I’m sinning. £3.99;

Eye to I: Autobiography of a Photographer by Erwin Blumenfeld
Eye to I: Autobiography of a Photographer by Erwin Blumenfeld

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a pair of pinstripe Smart Style trousers from Uniqlo. They are super-comfy, and it’s amazing how well-dressed you look in them. £29.90; 311 Oxford St, London W1 (020-7016 1500;

My favourite room in my house is the library/study. It’s a cosy place to go and hide with a cup of tea on a rainy day, and the rosewood-panelled walls make me feel like I’m in an episode of Mad Men.

Wiener Blut Sale Marino, €160 for 100ml EDP
Wiener Blut Sale Marino, €160 for 100ml EDP

The grooming staple I’m never without is Sale Marino by the Viennese artisan perfume house Wiener Blut. It’s a beautifully fresh scent that smells of the salty sea air, thanks to ingredients like marine salt, wild pistachio and juniper. €160;

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Schöneberg in Berlin, especially Potsdamer Strasse, which is home to Andreas Murkudis’ world-famous concept store. It’s set in a former newspaper printworks and sells everything stylish, from fashion and cosmetics to tableware and unusual chocolates. The brilliant contemporary art gallery Blain Southern and vintage furniture and rug store Bossecker are in the same building. Daniel Heer is another extraordinary shop selling handmade horsehair mattresses – you can even stay there to try one out. Andreas Murkudis, Potsdamer Strasse 81E, 10785 (+4930-6807 98306; Blain Southern Art Gallery, Potsdamer Strasse 77–87, 10785 (+4930-6449 31510; Bossecker, Potsdamer Strasse 77-87, Haus 81H, 10785 (+4917-2708 3779; Daniel Heer, Schöneberger Zimmer, Blumenthalstrasse 7, 10783 (+4930-3408 5194;


If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an archaeologist, a restaurant critic, historian or scientist – or perhaps a combination of them all.  

See also