The Aesthete: Patrick Johnson talks personal taste

The menswear designer’s luxe suiting and casualwear are all about easy elegance, seamlessly blending refined Italian tailoring with a relaxed Antipodean spirit

Patrick Johnson at home in Sydney
Patrick Johnson at home in Sydney | Image: Hugh Stewart

My personal style signifiers are a sweater over my shoulders; my two Cartier trinity rings – like Jean Cocteau; and two linen pocket squares, each with an embroidered question mark – a wink to Errol Flynn, who by all accounts was not the best bloke, but was a trailblazing Australian with incredible taste. cartier.co.uk.

Johnson’s François Pinton sunglasses
Johnson’s François Pinton sunglasses | Image: Hugh Stewart

The last accessory I bought and loved was my François Pinton sunglasses, originally designed for Aristotle Onassis. They’re incredibly hard to find, so I am really on the hunt for a backup pair.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is some new cloth. In terms of clothing, I make most of what I want, so the excitement for me is all in the cloth. This one is an incredible baby-camel-hair weave by Loro Piana. It’s so soft and breathes better than cashmere. I think I’ll make it into a leisure suit for myself. loropiana.com.

The cameo bracelet Johnson gave to his wife Tamsin
The cameo bracelet Johnson gave to his wife Tamsin | Image: Hugh Stewart

The item I would never part with is my collection of ties from Arnys in Paris. I was so sad when Arnys closed. I still haven’t quite accepted it.

P Johnson travel vest, £215
P Johnson travel vest, £215

The best gift I’ve given recently was a beautiful bracelet that I found at an antiques store in Rome, to my wife Tamsin. It’s big and chunky, set in gold, with different colours of cameo – one coral, one I’m hoping isn’t ivory and a green one too. 57 Via Margutta, 00187 Rome (+3906-679 7093; serra-roma.it).

JK Cafe in Rome
JK Cafe in Rome

And the best one I’ve received recently is from Tamsin, who bought me the most incredible 17th-century Flemish tapestry, which hangs in my office. She got it at the fair in Parma. mercanteinfiera.it.

Gammarelli cotton socks, €20 per pair
Gammarelli cotton socks, €20 per pair

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a travel vest that I designed, part of the P Johnson collection. It’s perfect. Modest, I know… but it makes me very happy. £215; pjt.com.

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The last meal that truly impressed me was at Enoteca Marcucci in Pietrasanta, in Tuscany. It’s close to my workshop and never disappoints. The menu is always seasonal and basically the waiters dictate what you order, which I like. I had baby octopus carpaccio, then beautiful grilled aubergine with rabbit. And a decent helping of Amaro Nonino. 40 Via Garibaldi, 55045 Pietrasanta (+3905‑8479 1962; enotecamarcucci.it).

An indulgence I would never forgo is a swim after a long flight, then a few stiff martinis – at Dukes in London, The Grill in New York and Fratelli Paradiso in Sydney. It’s the best way to reset the body clock. Dukes, 35 St James’s Place, London SW1 (020-7491 4840; dukeshotel.com). Fratelli Paradiso, 12-16 Challis Avenue, Potts Point, Sydney (+612-9357 1744; fratelliparadiso.com). The Grill, 99 East 52nd Street, NY 10022 (+1212-375 9001; thegrillnewyork.com).

If I didn’t live in Sydney, the city I would live in is Rome because of its complex history and the fact that, despite this, it still functions. In the mornings I’d stroll to the lighthouse on Gianicolo Hill and make my way through the botanical gardens to Fontana dell’Acqua Paola, which featured in Paolo Sorrentino’s film La Grande Bellezza. Then I’d walk through Trastevere and across the Ponte Sisto to JK Cafe for breakfast. I’d eat a lot at Cul de Sac – it does amazing mussels with black rice – and at Taverna Trilussa, for Rome’s best amatriciana. And, of course, there’d be drinks in the courtyard at Hotel Locarno, and fantastic shops, like Gammarelli for great socks. Cul de Sac, 73 Piazza di Pasquino, 00186 (+3906-6880 1094). Gammarelli, 34 Via S Chiara, 00186 (+3906‑6880 1314; gammarelli.com). Hotel Locarno, 22 Via della Penna, 00186 (+3906‑361 0841; hotellocarno.com). JK Cafe, 30 Via di Monte d’Oro, 00186 (+3906-982 634; jkroma.com). Taverna Trilussa, 23-25 Via del Politeama, 00153 (+3906-581 8918; tavernatrilussa.com).

The grooming staple I’m never without is my horn comb from G Lorenzi in Milan. It’s now closed – another casualty. So sad. Select pieces available at larusmiani.it.

My favourite websites are Carsales.com, Grailed.com, IdeaBooks.nl and – this one’s geeky – the Australian Bureau of Meteorology because the weather dictates my day. bom.gov.au.

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