The Aesthete: Nicholas Kirkwood talks personal taste

The award-winning footwear designer is renowned for his compellingly beautiful, sculptural – but irreverent – creations

Nicholas Kirkwood in his living room
Nicholas Kirkwood in his living room | Image: Tina Hillier

My personal style signifier is my 1980s Timex gold watch that I bought on eBay. It’s like the original Apple Watch in its design, and I love the 1980s aesthetic. I am also obsessed with sneakers and wear Nike Air Max 90s – I have them in multiple colours.

Boon the Shop, a concept store in Seoul
Boon the Shop, a concept store in Seoul

The last thing I bought and loved was a work called Orion & the Water Giver by Haroon Mirza, from the Lisson Gallery. He takes everyday objects and applies neons and colours – this one uses solar panels. I’ve liked his work for a while and am trying to get a few pieces for the office or the Georgian house I am renovating in Margate.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is an Italian table from 1stdibs in glass and lacquered wood. It’s an articulated design from 1980 that can be split into many parts and reconfigured in different ways.

The Chess Club in London’s Mayfair
The Chess Club in London’s Mayfair | Image: Annabel Elston

A recent “find” is the Chess Club in Mayfair. It seems quite hidden away and I love the playful, eclectic interiors by Fran Hickman, which make it feel like a home away from home. The food is fresh and seasonal, lots of it from the chef Jackson Boxer’s family’s Sussex farm, and in interesting combinations like bavette with salt-baked beetroot and anchovy. 1A Chesterfield Street, London W1 (020-7495 6171;

Nasomatto Black Afgano fragrance, £118 for 30ml parfum
Nasomatto Black Afgano fragrance, £118 for 30ml parfum

The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are Claudia Louch, a nutritionist and dermatologist I discovered a year ago; it takes ages to get an appointment but she is excellent and a great believer in holistic natural solutions. Michael Charalambous has cut my hair for ages – he used to be next to our store on Mount Street; he’s really good but also really fun. Boniface Verney-Carron has a health practice where I go for osteopathy a couple of times a year, and if I am in LA I try to visit Touch of Faith Aesthetics, which uses lots of light therapies and collagen. My skin feels babysoft for a week afterwards.

Sex and Landscapes by Helmut Newton
Sex and Landscapes by Helmut Newton | Image: Tina Hillier

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Gangnam-Gu in Seoul; it’s probably the most concentrated collection of some of the best shops in the world. I love Boon, a large concept store designed by Peter Marino. It has amazing brands, a restaurant and bookshop. I also like the other concept stores such as Space Mue or Rare Market – and 10 Corso Como, which has a lovely café. Boon the Shop, 21 Apgujeong-ro. Rare Market, 95-5 Cheongdam-dong. 10 Corso Como, 416 Apgujeong-ro. Space Mue, 93-6 Chungdam-Dong.

Italian musician Alessandro Cortini
Italian musician Alessandro Cortini

The grooming staples I’m never without are Nasomatto Black Afgano – I love the darkness of the perfume; it’s quite woody – and Epicuren skincare that you can only get in the US – it’s simple and natural, which suits my skin. I use three products: an exfoliant made from ground bamboo, a facewash and a probiotic moisturiser. Epicuren Acidophilus Probiotic Facial Cream, $87 for 125ml; Clarify Cleanser, $30 for 60ml; Micro-derm Ultra-Refining Scrub, $28 for 15ml; Nasomatto Black Afgano, £118 for 30ml parfum;


The best gift I’ve given recently is a black and blue snakeskin Céline Belt bag to my mum. She’s quite classic in her tastes and wore a lot of Céline in the ’80s.

And the best one I’ve received recently was a first edition Helmut Newton book, Sex and Landscapes, that my team bought me from Assouline on Piccadilly last Christmas. 196A Piccadilly, London W1 (020-3327 9370;

The last music I downloaded was La Sveglia by Alessandro Cortini. It’s fantastic-sounding, but also energising and uplifting. I found him on Spotify – it’s a really great way to discover new artists.

My favourite apps are Procreate, a drawing program that I use on my iPad – I do all my sketching on the iPad now, so I use it every day – and Curiosity Stream, which is like a TV channel with an amazing edit of science, technology and documentaries. I also use HeadSpace, a meditation app – it’s simple but really useful for relaxing on planes or in the morning before work.

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