Benjamin Millepied talks personal taste: Part Two

The choreographer concludes his list of likes with the sartorial elegance of Jimmy Stewart, the passion of Anselm Kiefer and the cultural abundance of LA

Benjamin Millepied photographed at Palais Garnier
Benjamin Millepied photographed at Palais Garnier | Image: Lea Crespi

My style icons are Jimmy Stewart and Fred Astaire, who wore clothes elegantly and carried themselves with a nonchalant confidence; American movie stars like these are rare today. And Alain Delon, because his style is never over-thought.

The best gift I’ve received recently is a photograph by Dutch artist Pim Van Os called Untitled (Light Abstraction). It’s a beautiful silver gelatin print from the 1950s and was a present from my wife [Natalie Portman].

Jimmy Stewart
Jimmy Stewart | Image: Getty Images

The last thing I bought and loved was a really fitted elastic shirt by Acne. It has a very high neckline and is suitable for work but elegant enough to be worn to an evening performance at the ballet. www.acnestudios.com.

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of black Berluti loafers [from £530]. They look traditional but they’re made of the finest, thinnest leather so they feel almost like a ballet shoe. They’ll work well with everything from loose-fitting cashmere trousers to a suit. www.berluti.com.

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The last meal that truly impressed me was at Septime in Paris’s 11th arrondissement. It’s industrial yet slightly rustic and has an imaginative menu and combinations of ingredients. I love vegetables and a recent beautifully minimalist supper included white asparagus, mountain spinach and steamed cod, all paired with natural wines. 80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris(+331-4367 3829; www.septime-charonne.fr)

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Anselm Kiefer. There is such great depth and passion in his brushwork, and I particularly love his very large paintings of flower fields that seem inspired by Van Gogh. His aquarelles are beautiful too, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit his studio and see him at work; it was an unforgettable experience.

Septime restaurant in Paris
Septime restaurant in Paris | Image: François Flohic

The people I rely on for personal grooming are Philippe at the Christophe Robin salon at Hôtel Le Meurice – he often comes to me and knows exactly how to cut my hair – and any of the stylists at Rudy’s Barbershop on Sunset Boulevard, where the atmosphere is always lively. Christophe Robin, Hôtel Le Meurice, 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris (+331-4020 0283; www.christophe-robin.com). Rudy’s Barbershop, 4451 W Sunset Boulevard, CA 90027 (+1323-661 6535; www.rudysbarbershop.com).

My favourite room in my house is the kitchen. It’s where we spend most of our time as a family and we love to cook and really use the space. It’s modern with lots of natural light and the atmosphere is always very alive.  

An Anselm Kiefer restrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts
An Anselm Kiefer restrospective at the Royal Academy of Arts | Image: Ukartpics/Alamy stock photo

If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is LA. There is so much to do culturally and I particularly love the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, hearing the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and watching movies under the stars at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. A great day starts with an Intelligentsia coffee, which is so much better than anything in Paris, followed by a walk in Griffith Park and around the Observatory. I also like the creative Spanish-fusion cuisine at Bäco Mercat downtown and the Sunset Tower Hotel and Soho House for their vibrant atmosphere. From the Frank Lloyd Wright houses to Pasadena City College flea market, there is so much to see and do in this magical, fascinating and colourful city, and yet its potential for growth seems limitless. Bäco Mercat, 408 S Main Street (+1213-687 8808; www.bacomercat.com). Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive (+1323-913 4688; www.laparks.org). Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard (+1323-469 1181; www.cinespia.org). Intelligentsia Coffee, www.intelligentsiacoffee.com. LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, www.laphil.com. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard (+1323-857 6000; www.lacma.org). Pasadena Flea Market, 1570 E Colorado Boulevard (+1626-585 7906; www.pasadena.edu). Soho House West Hollywood, 9200 Sunset Boulevard (+1310-432 9200; www.sohohousewh.com). Sunset Tower Hotel, 8358 Sunset Boulevard (+1323-654 7100; www.sunsettowerhotel.com).

In my fridge you’ll always find hummus; assorted organic berries, milk and yoghurt for my son; a selection of cheeses from Terroirs d’Avenir, including a good blue and a Camembert; and whatever wild mushrooms are in season. I like cooking and mushrooms are a real favourite; I sautée morels or fry porcinis and often make fresh mushroom sauce for pasta. 6-8 Rue du Nil, 75002 Paris (+331-8170 9798; www.terroirs-avenir.fr).

Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, by Edwin Denby
Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, by Edwin Denby

The books on my bedside table include Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet; Jennifer Homans’s Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet; and Dancers, Buildings, and People in the Streets by dance critic Edwin Denby. Sergei Diaghilev’s biography is always there as well. I love it all – history, fiction, poetry – but I especially like reading about dance.

The objects I would never part with are a series of Irving Penn photographs of dancers that I’ve collected over time. They’re from his Ballet Society series in the 1940s and have a ghostly quality; the dancers look like angels. To me, these images embody ballet and I would love to add to them over time.

Merci boutique in Paris
Merci boutique in Paris

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the fourth arrondissement in Paris. This area in the Marais is packed with smaller stores including Christophe Lemaire’s boutique in a former pharmacy, which is full of the minimalist clothing I like. Then there’s Acne Studios and concept store Merci, which is an incredible place to find emerging designers, housewares and virtually everything else, plus I love its philanthropic angle. The vibrant Café Français – a brasserie facing the Opéra – is a great place for lunch. Acne Studios, 3 Rue Froissart (+331-4996 9691; www.acnestudios.com). Café Français, 1-3 Place de la Bastille (+331-4029 0402; www.cafe-francais.fr). Christophe Lemaire, 28 Rue de Poitou (+331-4478 0009; www.lemaire.fr). Merci, Boulevard Beaumarchais (+331- 4277 0033; www.merci-merci.com).

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If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an architect, pianist or conductor. Each discipline relates to what I do now, and I would love to conduct and interpret a score.

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