Rupert Sanderson talks personal taste: Part One

Rupert Sanderson gave up a career in advertising to train as a shoe designer. He launched his brand in 2001 and now has shops in London, Paris and Hong Kong

Image: trent mcminn

My personal style signifier is a classic white T-shirt. I’m always on a quest to find the perfect one, and have just ordered a batch in Sea Island cotton from Sunspel. £150;

The last thing I bought and loved was a set of Lalique champagne glasses from Grays Antique Centre. They’re the Nippon design, with small bosses around the stem to stop your hands warming the glass. You can see the Lalique influence in the heel of my autumn/winter 2013 Kibo shoe. Grays Antique Centre, 58 Davies Street and 1-7 Davies Mews, London W1 (020-7629 7034;

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a Cona glass coffee maker. It’s a wonderfully eccentric English design from 1910, and looks like a chemistry set with a Bunsen burner under the coffee pot. I love that performance element. From £116.40;

A recent “find” is Drake’s menswear. Everything is impeccably sourced, from Scotland and Italy, for example. I love provenance – for instance, that Burberry made the original trench coat for the trenches – and the mechanics of making something so that it does its job perfectly. 3 Clifford Street, London W1 (020-7734 2367;


The last meal that truly impressed me was at La Lanterna, a family trattoria in Tredozio, near my factory. Bruna is la nonna, and makes all the food on the day – fresh ragù and pasta, and a very good zuppa di pesce. Viale Repubblica 8, 47019 Tredozio (+390546-943 601).

My favourite room in my house is our soon-to-be-built kitchen extension by David Kohn. He’s designed it to juxtapose our house’s original Victorian architecture, so it will look completely modern. I’m very excited about it.

The grooming staple I’m never without is Kiehl’s shampoo, in big bottles. And I like Aesop, the Australian brand that has a shop in Shoreditch. Again, it’s a provenance thing. Kiehl’s used to be a New York apothecary and I can remember when it was hard to find the stuff over here. Aesop, Kiehl’s,

The books on my bedside table are a PD James mystery, and the proof copy of an unpublished novel that I’m reading for my wife, who is an editor. To be honest, I’m a bit of an indiscriminate reader; probably because it’s my wife’s profession.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Yorkshire Dales. It’s breathtaking – the limestone pavements, the ancientness and the richness of the landscape.

In my fridge you’ll always find three types of vodka, a bottle of kümmel, two sorts of champagne… I’m a sucker for all the paraphernalia of mixing a good drink. There’s something very civilised about taking the time to pick a beautiful glass and make the perfect Bloody Mary – even if I’d then rather have a cup of tea. I often shop at The Sampler in Islington, a seductively old-fashioned wine merchant. 266 Upper Street, London N1 (020-7226 9500;

The best gift I’ve given recently is a Brad Ren’s Western saddle, to my partner Claudio Abazzi on his retirement. I bought it in a shop in Bologna – many Italians are keen horse riders. The saddle is amazing, in hand-tooled American leather with buckles and a pommel.

And the best one I’ve received recently is a vintage Sirram picnic set, from my mother-in-law. It’s in a heavy box with six place settings, two food containers, and three orangey-red Thermos flasks.


My favourite website is Abe Books, as it finds any book – new, second-hand, textbooks – and it’s so quick. I just ordered a book of Dennis Hopper photographs, some taken by him, some of him with people such as Warhol and Lichtenstein.

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