Adrian Joffe talks personal taste: Part One

The Comme des Garçons president shares the helm of the $180m-a-year fashion empire with his wife, designer Rei Kawakubo

Image: ©Lea Crespi

My personal style signifier is a Comme des Garçons blue striped shirt. I basically live in them five days a week, as they are comfortable and work well with everything. I select what I like from the atelier when the new collections are presented. Dover Street Market, 17-18 Dover Street, London W1 (020-7518 0680;

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The last thing I bought and loved was Julian Barnes’ recent novel, The Sense of An Ending, which was awarded the Man Booker Prize last year. I purchased it at JFK Airport in New York and I read it on my flight all the way to Paris. I loved his philosophical explanation of getting old. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that it kept me from sleeping, which is what I should have been doing. £4.79;


And the thing I’m eyeing next is nothing materialistic, but rather a peaceful holiday. I would love to go trekking in Tibet as I’ve been hiking in Nepal and enjoyed the solitude there very much. I think this kind of trip would be both spiritual and restorative.

Gang Ba Ancient Fortress in Shigatse, Tibet
Gang Ba Ancient Fortress in Shigatse, Tibet | Image: Getty Images

An indulgence I would never forego is really fine sushi. I love all of the best sushi restaurants in Tokyo – and in New York City and Paris, for that matter – but I especially love the authentic places in Japan. One of my favourites in Paris is Kinugawa, near the Louvre, particularly for their scallop sushi. I would have a hard time going on without it. In fact, I’d love some right now. 9 Rue du Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris (+33-1 4260 6507;

New Balance trainers at Footlocker
New Balance trainers at Footlocker

The last item I added to my wardrobe is a pair of very simple, black New Balance trainers that I purchased in New York City. I was staying at a hotel downtown and my feet were killing me from all the walking, so I went into the Foot Locker on 14th Street and found this terrific pair of shoes. I wear them all the  time because they’re incredibly comfortable and understated. I’ve yet to find them anywhere else. $69.99; 58 West 14th Street, New York 10003(+1-212 255-6481;

Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961 by Mark Rothko
Orange, Red, Yellow, 1961 by Mark Rothko | Image: © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko ARS, NY and DACS, London.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is the abstract painter Mark Rothko, though I am not a collector by any means. I tend to like art where it is – in museums, or in public spaces. I don’t need to own it.


If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a monk. I feel like that sort of life would be full of peace and wisdom. There isn’t enough time for either of these things in our fashion business.

The books on my bedside table are likely to be anything by Jo Nesbø, a Norwegian writer of thrillers – well known for his series featuring Detective Harry Hole. I also love biographies and I am currently reading The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings. It is an incredibly in-depth, well written book about the 1930s English playwright and author. And The New Yorker and as I am always at least two to three weeks behind, you’ll often find them piled up beside my bed. £12.99,

The place that inspires me is Tokyo Bay at sunrise. The skyline is completely beautiful and the light there, at that time of day, is spectacular. I’ve been going to Tokyo for more than 40 years, and yet this skyline – with its islands and bridges – never ceases to amaze me. To me, it symbolises the incredible resilience and energy of Japan.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Mishkin’s, a Jewish deli-restaurant in London’s Covent Garden. I had a feast of salt beef, chopped liver, and hearty meatloaf there. The space looks like a festive 1950s American diner, complete with vinyl booths and fried green tomatoes. 25 Catherine Street, WC2 (020-7240 2078;

My favourite websites are the BBC and the Financial Times for news. I like the Comme des Garçons site because there is no fashion on it; and I also find travel sites such as Condé Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet to be inspiring.;;;;