My style icon is [Myanmar democracy activist] Aung San Suu Kyi. She possesses style in the broader sense of the word – that is, I admire her for her dignity, beauty, hard work and passion for human rights causes.
In my fridge you’ll always find very little. I tend to eat lunch out and as I return home late at night, I don’t cook very much. I do, however, always have eggs, soya milk, and cheese on hand, as well as snacks such as pickled herring. I love that any time of the day.
A recent “find” is the Indian restaurant Curry in a Hurry, in New York City. It is cheap, authentic and serves an outstanding lamb curry, which is my favourite. It was packed with Indian people watching Bollywood movies so the whole experience felt very real. Their dosas and sheekh kababs of minced beef are delicious, too. 119 Lexington Avenue, New York 10016 (+1212-683 0900; www.curryinahurrynyc.com).
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Seoul. I didn’t have any expectations and I found every aspect of the city to be fascinating. It’s not quite Tokyo, not quite China, and it is “ugly-beautiful” in a very special way. The food there is excellent and I found Koreans to be extremely welcoming. We opened a store there and were literally treated like royalty.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is always edible. I don’t like clutter so I rarely buy souvenirs as such, but I do love delicious things from around the world. I am particularly fond of dried mangoes, and I bought the best ones when I was last in Bangkok.
The last music I downloaded was I Love You by Arto Tunçboyaciyan. He’s a wonderful Turkish-Armenian musician who sings and also plays an instrument called a duduk – a traditional woodwind instrument that makes the most beautiful sound. When I heard his music on the radio, I searched for everything he has recorded and downloaded whatever I could find. itunes.apple.com/us/artist/arto-tuncboyaciyan/id1526465.
The best gift I’ve given recently was a DVD set of the Danish crime drama series The Killing. I gave it to my 29-year-old niece and she loved following the 20-day murder investigation. Seasons One and Two, £38.59; www.amazon.co.uk.
And the best one I’ve received recently is a DVD set of the television series Upstairs, Downstairs, which was given to me by a colleague in London. I had mentioned to him how much I love Downton Abbey – and British historical dramas, in general – and he gave me the original series from the 1970s that chronicles life in Edwardian England and during the first world war. Upstairs, Downstairs Series One to Five, £34.97; Downton Abbey Series One and Two; £19.99; www.amazon.co.uk.
The beauty staple I’m never without is Savon de Marseille, an olive oil soap that evokes the South of France. It is perfect for showers and bathrooms in general, and I like that it is still made in a traditional way. I also like to use our latest fragrance, Amazingreen, which I find fresh and energising. From £4.47; savondemarseille.com. Amazingreen, £57 for 50ml;www.selfridges.com
An object I would never part with? I would part with every object because they just weigh you down. My ultimate goal is to shed all of my possessions, but if I had to choose one sentimental item to keep forever, it would probably be my collection of photographs of family and friends.
My favourite room in my house is my bedroom in Paris because I can sleep totally undisturbed. I live in the Marais area and this particular space overlooks a quiet, peaceful courtyard.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the various markets in New Delhi. I particularly love the Dilli Haat Market that sells everything from vegetables to Indian crafts. I’ve never seen anything so colourful and vibrant anywhere else. The fruits and vegetables are stacked in incredible arrangements and there is just an energy and vibrancy that is unique to this part of the world. I also love the Janpath and Tibetan Market, and the Khan Market for its bookshops.
The person I rely on for personal grooming and style is my fitness trainer and friend, Mohamed. He comes to my house and we work out and box with one another. I don’t have a gym in my home, so we just clear out the lounge area and he teaches me new moves and strengthening exercises.
If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is not another city but rather in a small village in the Japanese countryside. As I get older, I’d love to be surrounded by fewer people, though I do love to visit bustling cities – New Delhi, New York, Bangkok, Edinburgh. I just can’t imagine living in those places any more. I think Paris will be my last city, as it is simply the most architecturally beautiful.