Benjamin Millepied talks personal taste: Part One

Dancer and choreographer Benjamin Millepied is the outgoing director of dance for the Paris Opera and the founder of artist collective LA Dance Project

Benjamin Millepied
Benjamin Millepied | Image: Lea Crespi

My personal style signifiers are Christophe Lemaire trousers and shirts by Acne – usually in dark colours; my clothes, even if fitted, have a sense of comfort and ease of movement. I tend to wear everything with a pair of black leather lace-ups by Feit: the craftsmanship is impeccable, they’re beautifully designed and they’re very minimal, which is in keeping with my overall style. From £130; www.acnestudios.com. From €540; www.feitdirect.com. From €355; www.lemaire.fr.

Frenchie To Go café in Paris
Frenchie To Go café in Paris

The best gift I’ve given recently was a first edition of Gertrude Stein’s What Are Masterpieces?. I love old books and think anything by Stein is interesting, but this particular edition is very special. I bought it at Shakespeare and Company, where shopping is always a wonderful experience. 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris (+331 4325 4093;www.shakespeareandcompany.com).

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An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Iceland. The areas we visited were almost uninhabited and some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I loved the combination of natural landscape, pure air and absolute quiet. We stayed at the ION Luxury Adventure Hotel [pictured] in Selfoss, where the scenery and food were both outstanding. I’d love to go back and see the Northern Lights there next year. Nesjavellir vid Thingvallavatn 801 (+354‑482 3415; www.ioniceland.is).

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £36 for 50ml
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £36 for 50ml

And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are six Bauhaus-style chairs from the depths of a flea market in Jaffa, Tel Aviv. This is the largest Bauhaus city in the world – many architects fled here during the second world war – and one of the chairs I found is from a traditional kibbutz. The others are made of a light-coloured wood and are quite angular. All six now feature prominently at our home in Paris.

The modernist Oliver House, Silver Lake, LA, designed by Rudolf Schindler
The modernist Oliver House, Silver Lake, LA, designed by Rudolf Schindler

A recent “find” is the incredible area around the Rue du Nil in the second arrondissement of Paris. You can source wonderful organic vegetables, cheeses and meats from Terroirs d’Avenir and enjoy Paris’s best Reuben sandwich from the café Frenchie To Go [pictured]. It’s all there on a single street. Frenchie To Go, 9 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris (+331-4026 2343; www.frenchietogo.com). Terroirs d’Avenir, 6-8 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris (+331-8170 9798; www.terroirs-avenir.fr).

Undefeated x Converse trainers
Undefeated x Converse trainers

The sight that inspires me is the light at around 5pm as it pierces the streets of LA. Whether I’m in Silver Lake or Koreatown, I love that you can see so many decades in one street’s architecture – from art deco to modernism – all bathed in this beautiful light.

The ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Selfoss, Iceland
The ION Luxury Adventure Hotel in Selfoss, Iceland

The last music I listened to was James Blake’s latest songRadio Silence. I love his voice and the complexity of his rhythms.

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An indulgence I would never forgo is a great steak. At Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza in LA they do a truffle-crusted rib eye that is crazy, and the flat-iron steak at The Factory Kitchen is also outstanding. The Factory Kitchen, 1300 Factory Place, CA 90013 (+1213-996 6000; www.thefactorykitchen.com). Osteria Mozza, 6602 Melrose Avenue, CA 90038 (+1323-297 0100; www.osteriamozza.com).

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe include a pair of Japansee-style loose black cashmere trousers from a new clothing line I’m developing with Berluti; a Saint Laurent tailored overcoat; and sweatshirts, sweatpants and trainers [pictured] by Undefeated that I wear when I’m in LA. www.berluti.com. www.undefeated.com. www.ysl.com.

The grooming staples I’m never without are Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate [pictured], a nighttime facial oil, and Christophe Robin’s Delicate Volumising shampoo and conditioner, which is very moisturising. Christophe Robin shampoo, £28 for 250ml; conditioner, £32 for 250ml; www.net-a-porter.com. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £36 for 50ml; www.kiehls.co.uk.

My favourite websites include Medium.com for excellent, forward-thinking articles, and Lefigaro.fr, Lemonde.fr and Nytimes.comfor news and opinion. Economist.com is great for world politics and business, and Theartnewspaper.com is my go-to for the latest about the visual arts.

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