The Aesthete: Ramesh Nair talks personal taste

Moynat’s artistic director has ushered the Parisian heritage trunk-makers into new territory with elegantly experimental handbag and luggage designs

Ramesh Nair at home in Paris
Ramesh Nair at home in Paris | Image: Mark C O’Flaherty

My personal style signifier is my black beanie hat. It’s part of my uniform, so I have lots of different kinds. I wore a Yohji Yamamoto design for a while, but currently I’m wearing one from Béton Ciré. betonxcire.com; yohjiyamamoto.co.jp.

Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph watch, £50,350
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph watch, £50,350

The last thing I bought and loved was an oil painting by a friend, the artist Lee Wan – a fantastically minimalist piece from his conceptual A Diligent Attitude Towards a Meaningless Thing series. He had labourers fill each canvas with background paint using the smallest brush available, which took five days. leewanstudio.com.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Chronograph watch. The concept of time and space intrigues me; I obsess about it. I am dyslexic, so some things don’t work as they should in my brain and other areas compensate. I love the complexities and mechanics of a watch. £50,350; patek.com

Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires
Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires

I never leave home without my Astell & Kern digital music player and my FitEar ear monitors, the ultimate headphones. They are custom-moulded for your ears by a guy in Japan – if he agrees to take your order in the first place. From $599; astellnkern.com. fitear.jp.

The bottle of vintage Krohn Colheita port bought by Ramesh in Lisbon
The bottle of vintage Krohn Colheita port bought by Ramesh in Lisbon

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Kodungallur, India, where the ancient trading port of Muziris is believed to have been. Some of the architecture looks like Japan’s, and nearby North Paravur has a landmark synagogue and a long Jewish history. 

His two favourite scents, Terre d’Hermès, £80 for 100ml EDT, and Comme des Garçons Series 3 Incense: Avignon, £65 for 50ml EDT
His two favourite scents, Terre d’Hermès, £80 for 100ml EDT, and Comme des Garçons Series 3 Incense: Avignon, £65 for 50ml EDT

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a bottle of vintage Krohn Colheita port, made in my birth year, 1965, which I bought in Lisbon. I tasted a lot of very old ports there and this one was particularly delicious. krohn.pt.

Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House, Hong Kong
Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House, Hong Kong

Next on my travel bucket list is Argentina. I’ve never been to South America, but I had some amazing wine sent to me recently from Cheval des Andes and it made me want to visit and check out the Inca sites. I’d also like to explore Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires; visiting cemeteries is an obsession of mine and Eva Perón, who is buried there, has been calling for some time. chevaldesandes.com

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The grooming staples I’m never without are two fragrances: Comme des Garçons Series 3 Incense: Avignon and Terre d’Hermès. I wear them at the same time. I like the citrus aspects of the Hermès and the church notes of the Comme, which adds a touch of wood and, I think, an air of mortality. Comme des Garçons Series 3 Incense: Avignon, £65 for 50ml EDT; shop.doverstreetmarket.com. Terre d’Hermès, £80 for 100ml EDT; hermes.com.

The hotel bar that blew me away was Café Gray Deluxe at The Upper House in Hong Kong. It’s minimal in terms of design, but with great views of the city. What is most interesting about it is the bar. Last time I was there it was mango season – I’m crazy for them – and what they created for me was amazing. Once, when I had a bad cold, they made me a great non-caffeinated grog with brandy. Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong (+852-2918 1838; upperhouse.com).

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Shinjuku, in Tokyo. It’s home to so many subcultures and great stores. Sekaido is a treasure trove for art materials, and then there’s Disk Union: eight floors of vinyl and CDs. I love looking around the huge Yodobashi Camera, which has every kind of gadget imaginable. Disk Union, 3-31-4 Shinjuku, 160-0022 (+813-3352 2691; diskunion.net). Sekaido, 3-1-1 Shinjuku, 160-0022 (+813-5379 1111; sekaido.co.jp). Yodobashi Camera, 1-11-1 Nishishinjuku, 160-0023 (+813-3346 1010; yodobashi.com).

My favourite apps are Procreate, which I use to draw on my iPad; Bandsintown tells me when my favourite musicians are playing where I am; and ComicFlow organises the hundreds of comic books I download to read when travelling.

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