The Aesthete: John Harrison talks personal taste

The Gieves & Hawkes creative director wants a bespoke shirt from Budd and plans to build a Porsche – in Lego

John Harrison at home in Surrey
John Harrison at home in Surrey | Image: Harry Crowder

My personal style signifier is my late-1950s Breitling Navitimer 806, which was a 21st-birthday present. I love the monochrome feel and the functional dial. It is quite a technical watch, but looks elegant; it has nice lines and great heritage. 1959 Navitimer 806 reedition, £6,520; breitling.com.

Harrison’s Omega Speedmaster
Harrison’s Omega Speedmaster | Image: Harry Crowder

The last item of clothing I bought and loved was a vintage Brunello Cucinelli linen jacket. The thing that got me was the sandy, hessian-type shade. I didn’t have anything like that in my wardrobe and I knew it would look good with jeans. Similar from £2,100; brunellocucinelli.com.

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And the item of clothing I’m eyeing next is a bespoke shirt from Budd, perhaps in a blue and white micro-gingham. I think Budd collars are a good size; they have a nice volume to them. I’d also like some black butterfly loafers from New & Lingwood. I’ve had my eye on these for a while and every time I go in they’ve sold out. Bespoke shirts, from £325; buddshirts.co.uk. Butterfly loafers, £450; newandlingwood.com.

Harrison’s Brunello Cucinelli jacket, similar from £2,100
Harrison’s Brunello Cucinelli jacket, similar from £2,100 | Image: Harry Crowder

The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is Himbrimi, an Icelandic amber gin with great botanicals – it’s beautiful. I thought Iceland was a great place to buy a spirit: it’s very pure and clean. £39.13 for 50cl; himbrimi.com and masterofmalt.com.

New & Lingwood butterfly loafers, £450
New & Lingwood butterfly loafers, £450

The grooming staple I’m never without is scent. I feel underdressed without it. At any given time, there could well be 20 to 30 perfumes in my bathroom cabinet. I have quite a few from Frédéric Malle, particularly Cologne Bigarade, and I wear Acqua di Parma Colonia an awful lot; I like citrus notes for daywear. Frédéric Malle Cologne Bigarade, £155 for 100ml EDC; fredericmalle.co.uk. Acqua di Parma Colonia, £102 for 100ml EDC; acquadiparma.com.

Himbrimi gin, £39.13 for 50cl
Himbrimi gin, £39.13 for 50cl | Image: Harry Crowder

The best gift I’ve received recently is a Lego Porsche GT3 RS. It was a gift from my wife, Anne-Marie. I haven’t built it yet; it’s still boxed. Essentially, it’s a toy, but it’s so much more. The GT3 RS is an amazing piece of engineering and this is a big Technic kit, nearly 2ft long. Lego Porsche GT3 RS, from £274.99; amazon.co.uk.

Acqua di Parma Colonia, £102 for 100ml EDC
Acqua di Parma Colonia, £102 for 100ml EDC

A recent “find” is Take5 in Hong Kong, a tiny shop selling authentic Japanese denim in a city that technically can’t wear it because it’s usually too hot. It has great brands like Studio D’Artisan and Big John, and denims up to 24oz: you can stand the jeans up on their legs. take5jeans.com

Harrison’s Lego Porsche GT3 RS, from £274.99
Harrison’s Lego Porsche GT3 RS, from £274.99

And the things I’ll keep to pass on to my boys are my watches – an Omega Speedmaster and the Breitling Navitimer. And a silver Swiss Army knife that Anne-Marie bought for me in New York years ago; it’s always in my washbag. omegawatches.com.  

Pizza at Pasquale Jones, New York
Pizza at Pasquale Jones, New York

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose SoHo in New York: it has the best food, shops, bars and friends in a square mile. We’d do brunch at Lucky Strike, go to Oliver Peoples for my glasses, then DTR Modern Galleries, Pasquale Jones pizza and a great antiques shop called Artifacts 20th Century – I always go in there and think, “How can I get that back to England?” Artifacts 20th Century, 280 Mott St (artifacts20thcentury.com). Lucky Strike, 59 Grand St (luckystrikeny.com). Oliver Peoples, 366 West Broadway (oliverpeoples.com). DTR Modern Galleries, 458 West Broadway (dtrmodern.com). Pasquale Jones, 187 Mulberry St (pasqualejones.com). 

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My favourite app is The Room, a game app with sublime graphics and difficult puzzles – it’s great when I am delayed at the airport. I listen to music too, but The Room keeps my mind active. apps.apple.com.

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