The Aesthete: Wes Gordon opens his black book of style

The creative director of Carolina Herrera has a thing for custom Prada, Sebastopol geese and Toblerone, says Christina Ohly Evans. Portraits by Weston Wells

Wes Gordon at home in Connecticut
Wes Gordon at home in Connecticut | Image: Weston Wells

My personal style signifiers are black jeans, a great knit and colourful socks. The jeans are by Tom Ford, and the socks are varied, but often from Uniqlo. This is my comfortable day-to-day uniform for both work and weekends. 

Black Tom Ford jeans are part of Gordon’s day-to-day uniform
Black Tom Ford jeans are part of Gordon’s day-to-day uniform | Image: Weston Wells

The last thing I bought and loved was an early-1970s green lacquered goatskin table by Aldo Tura. We just redecorated our apartment in New York and the rich malachite colour looks beautiful against the soft pink walls of the hall. 1stdibs.com.

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The best gifts I’ve given recently are fresh eggs from our farm. We have 100 chickens in Connecticut and I’ve chosen the breeds by the colour of eggs they lay, from chocolate brown to celadon green to light blue. I box them and give them as presents.

Fresh eggs from his own chickens are one of his favourite gifts
Fresh eggs from his own chickens are one of his favourite gifts | Image: Weston Wells

The best gift I’ve received recently was four Sebastopol geese with beautiful curly plumage, from Martha Stewart. They are aggressive, so they protect our chickens from foxes. We haven’t lost a chicken since she gave them to us.

Martha Stewart recently gave Gordon four Sebastapol geese to keep at his farm
Martha Stewart recently gave Gordon four Sebastapol geese to keep at his farm | Image: Weston Wells

The last music I downloaded was a bit of a retro situation. I got Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill and it’s fantastic all over again. Also, Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. That entire album is still as soulful and bold as when it was released.

He has been re-listening to Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
He has been re-listening to Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette

The artists whose work I would collect if I could include Les Lalanne – I’d take a hippo bar, monkey lamp and some ginkgo chairs any day – and Helen Frankenthaler and Gauguin, for brilliant colour. I recently saw some gorgeous Gauguins at the Norton Simon Museum in LA, and I’m having a real love affair with his work. 

An unforgettable place I’ve visited in the past year is Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda – a boutique hotel that was the last home of Mussolini. I loved the charm and serenity of the area, and the hotel was idyllic. Our days were filled with sunshine, jumping in the lake, long lunches and afternoons spent reading. The light and the surrounding mountains were just beautiful – a perfect escape. From €1,400.

Colourful table linens brought back from India to mix and match on outdoor tables
Colourful table linens brought back from India to mix and match on outdoor tables

And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are dozens of table linens from across India. I bought them in all colours and patterns, from vibrant whites to block prints in red and orange. They’re perfect for entertaining in the summer; I mix and match them on a long outdoor table.

The best book I’ve read in the past year is The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. It’s the story of four siblings who learn their fate from a fortune teller. Since they know the day they will die, each chooses to live a certain way. The one who is told he will die young acts recklessly, while the one who is told she’ll get to be very old lives timidly, raising the question of which is a fuller life. 

Gordon’s favourite book of last year, The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin
Gordon’s favourite book of last year, The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin

The grooming staple I’m never without in the winter is Pure White Cologne by Creed. For summer, my staple is Virgin Mint from the Carolina Herrera Confidential collection. Confidential Virgin Mint, $159 for 100ml EDT. Pure White Cologne, £350 for 75ml.

Creed Pure White Cologne, £350 for 75ml
Creed Pure White Cologne, £350 for 75ml

An indulgence I’d never forgo is milk chocolate. I like a high-low mix here. Fancy, artisanal chocolate is good, but I also adore classic candy. Toblerone is my favourite.

An object I would never part with is the Patek Philippe Calatrava watch that my husband proposed to me with. It’s simple and clean-lined, with a black leather band, and it’s a very special piece of jewellery. With a same-sex marriage proposal, you can establish new traditions around engagement. 

The Patek Philippe Calatrava watch that his husband proposed with
The Patek Philippe Calatrava watch that his husband proposed with | Image: Weston Wells

A recent “find” is a London bookstore called A.Society, which I happened upon when I was looking for a present for a friend in Marylebone. I was raised by big readers and am passionate about books. I have a total aversion to headphones – they make me feel disconnected – so I’d always prefer to read than listen to something. This tiny store is incredibly well-curated, with rare first-edition fashion books and art finds.

Handblown glass vases by Gordon’s husband, Paul Arnhold
Handblown glass vases by Gordon’s husband, Paul Arnhold | Image: Weston Wells

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. It was at a Fashion Weekend event for Carolina Herrera and the meals were a highlight. One dinner was set up in the place where all the vegetables were grown. The salads of sweet potato and ginger, and fresh arugula and carrots were amazing. But the best thing was the signature pimento cheese dip served with warm, baked biscuits. 

Gordon recently bought these Manolo Blahnik tasselled loafers
Gordon recently bought these Manolo Blahnik tasselled loafers | Image: Weston Wells

My style icons are Gianni Agnelli, Nick Charles in The Thin Man, and Mick Jagger. Agnelli – I mean, who beats that? The Neapolitan tailoring, the watch on the shirt-cuff, the hiking boots with a suit… completely effortless style. The character Nick Charles always looked so dapper. And Mick Jagger embodies an undone, easy style.

Biscuits from Sant Ambroeus, New York – Gordon always visits this restaurant when he is in the neighbourhood
Biscuits from Sant Ambroeus, New York – Gordon always visits this restaurant when he is in the neighbourhood

My grooming and wellbeing gurus are my friend Yohey, who cuts my hair at home, and Dr Jason Piken, an incredible chiropractor and nutritionist who is helping me with an autoimmune-focused paleo diet designed to increase my energy and curb sugar cravings. 

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My favourite room in my house is my bedroom. I could happily live just in this one room. It’s cosy and quiet, with a thick rug and heavy curtains.

In my fridge you’ll always find vegetables from the garden in Connecticut, as well as cider made from our 90 apple trees. Sometimes we have cheeses from nearby Arethusa Farm too. But in our New York apartment you will find exactly nothing – just three empty shelves, as we don’t eat at home. 

I have a collection of colourful suits – two dozen, in shades from bright green to sky blue to Carolina Herrera red, and many custom-made by Prada – and one made of pieces of blown-glass by my husband Paul Arnhold. 

The app I couldn’t do without is Pinterest. I think about work 24/7 and use it constantly; it’s the most amazing tool for working with my team while travelling and sharing research. I also like LiveAuctioneers – it aggregates global auctions, which is great, though I have learnt the hard way to be careful about shipping costs from far-flung places – but for daily news and updates, I look at CNN, the Financial Times, The New York Times, The Business of Fashion and WWD

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a coat from the CH Carolina Herrera men’s collection. It’s a dark-navy, mid-length down jacket with red piping and is a perfect transition piece from autumn to winter, and winter to spring. And a pair of blue tasselled loafers from Manolo Blahnik. Down coat, from $1,200. Shoes, £675.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Upper East Side in New York, where we’ve just reopened our flagship. Madison Avenue still feels like an enchanting film set to me, with its mix of shops, cafés and galleries, and I find inspiration everywhere – just seeing strangers on the sidewalk. The Frick Collection and The Met are favourites, and Gagosian always has interesting shows. And I always buy a pink paper cup of coffee from the Italian restaurant and pastry specialist Sant Ambroeus when I am in this part of town. 

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a furniture designer or an architect. I’m not sure I’d be good at either, but I would enjoy both. Or maybe a lawyer. Bizarrely, I worked at a law firm during the summers while I was in school. 

If I didn’t live in New York, the city I’d live in is Los Angeles. The weather’s great, the palm trees sway in a gentle breeze and the people are fun. I could happily live at the Beverly Hills Hotel and just sit by that fabulous pool. I love The Broad contemporary art museum and I recently came across Galerie XX, which is full of incredible 20th-century design. 

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