My style icon is Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, a writer who founded the futurism movement in the early 20th century and also had impeccable, very correct style.
The site that inspires me is the Mondadori building near Linate Airport in Milan, built as the publishing company’s headquarters in the 1970s by Oscar Niemeyer. He created a huge lake that reflects the delicate arches and sinuous shapes – an amazing construction that has become so well known that the public can book to visit it. Every time I take off from Milan I try to see it from the air – it’s inspiring from all angles. Via Mondadori 1, 20090 Segrate (+3902-75421; www.mondadori.com).
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Rue Montorgueil in Paris. I’m happier shopping for food than for anything else and this has the best food shops and markets in one place. It’s near where I live, so if I’m cooking and find I’ve forgotten something I can just pop out and get it – always fresh. It’s not far from the site of the original Les Halles wholesale market. My favourites there include the fantastic patisserie Stohrer, the Palais du Fruit for the best fresh vegetables, and Soguisa for a wonderful, super-fresh fish selection. Palais du Fruit, 74 Rue de Montorgueil, 75002 Paris (+331-4233 2215). Poissonerie Soguisa, 72 Rue de Montorgueil, 75002 Paris (+331-4233 0516). Stohrer, 51 Rue de Montorgueil, 75002 Paris (+331-4233 3820; www.stohrer.fr).
An object I would never part with is an antique measuring tape that my mother used in her work as a tailor. Apart from being beautifully made, for me it has a lot of soul.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Isami, a Japanese restaurant on Ile Saint-Louis in Paris. It is not particularly smart or well known, but it serves some of the best raw fish and sashimi in the world, and they are things that have to be perfect. 4 Quai d’Orléans, 75004 Paris (+331-4046 0697).
The best gift I’ve given recently, in my view, is time to spend with friends. It is so easy to get tied up with work and living in the moment, but it is important to put time aside to catch up with people who mean a lot to me – people who I would not see often unless I made this effort.
And the best gift I’ve received is a beautiful vintage jacket that belonged to my father, who died when I was quite young. My mother gave it to me and I had no idea she had it. He was shorter than me but it fits pretty well, though maybe I should get it narrowed, as cuts have changed.
An indulgence I would never forego is my secret notebook. Everywhere I go I take pictures and write comments in a small notebook, entirely for my own interest and later inspiration. I have quite a collection of them now, but I don’t suppose anyone else will ever see them. The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Lucio Fontana, who lived in both Italy and Argentina and founded the spatialism movement in the 1940s. His work is very pure and abstract, with slashes or holes, yet very calm.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Japan, particularly the area round Kobe and Kyoto. This was an amazing cultural experience and best of all was Gion Sasaki in Kyoto, a restaurant in a private house that only serves four people a night. It is very creative, with dozens of tiny courses and extraordinary flavours. Yasaka-dori Yamatooji Higashi iru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (+8175-551 5000; www.gionsasaki.com).
My favourite room in my house is unquestionably the kitchen. I love cooking, even just for myself – I find it great therapy. It makes me forget everything else. And it’s a place to be with friends. In Milan I have a separate dining area, while at my place in Paris we cook and eat in the same room, but either way it is the heart of the house.
If I didn’t live in Milan and Paris, the city I would live in is São Paulo. I love the tension between its buzzy cultural and business areas and the grittiness of the centre – you have to be very careful where you go, but it makes for an incredible energy. My favourite place to stay is We Hostel Design, which is a very unusual concept. A beautiful old building has been completely restored in retro-modern, mid-20th-century style by young architect Felipe Hess to a very high standard of comfort. Yet it is a hostel, with some communal rooms – a very good way to meet people in a city that’s new to you. For dinner I love to go to DOM, which serves local ingredients, including vegetables and herbs from the rainforest, in a very contemporary way, with brilliant taste results. It’s lively and laid-back yet features on lists of the world’s best restaurants. Brazil also has great modern art, and I always visit the gallery of Raquel Arnaud, who has promoted the best painters and sculptors since the 1970s and recently moved to an amazing new building. DOM, Rua Barao de Capanema 549, 01411-011 Jardins, São Paulo (+5511-3088 0761; www.domrestaurante.com.br). Raquel Arnaud, Rua Fidalga 125, 05432-070 Vila Madalena, São Paulo (+5511-3083 6322; www.raquelarnaud.com). We Hostel Design, Rua Morgado de Mateus 567, 04015-051 Vila Mariana, São Paulo (+5511-2615 2262; www.wehostel.com.br).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a tailor with my own small shop. I have been lucky enough to achieve a wider vision in fashion but my first dream was to actually make the pieces, and I think that touching fine fabrics, cutting them personally and putting in the details that please customers whom you know well would be very satisfying.