My style icon is Hubert de Givenchy. I know him well – he has a certain way of always looking impeccable and a natural elegance.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was an apple-green velvet jacket by Galliano. I bought it in Moscow, at the Tsum department store. I like to wear it with beige cashmere trousers from Hermès and John Lobb loafers. Hermès, 155 New Bond Street, London W1 (020-7499 8856; www.hermes.com). John Galliano, www.johngalliano.com. John Lobb, 88 Jermyn Street, London SW1 (020-7930 8089; www.johnlobb.com). Tsum, Ulitsa Petrovka 2, Moscow 125009 (+7495-933 7300; www.tsum.ru)
The best gift I’ve given recently was an incredibly huge bouquet of peonies for my wife, Pilar, from Zezé Flowers. They were the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen. 938 First Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (+1212-753 7767; www.zezeflowers.com).
And the best one I’ve received recently was a duvet for my château in France, which I badly needed because it was so cold. It came from friends in Vienna and is very light and very warm. There are only two places in the world to get duvets of that lightness: Canada and Austria. It has made a huge difference.
The books on my bedside table are plentiful; I have a bad habit of reading several on the go at once. At the moment, I’m reading something quite amusing, Derrière la Façade: Vivre au Château de Versailles au XVIIIe Siècle, by William Ritchey Newton. Another one I haven’t finished is Dante’s Inferno.
The site that inspires me is the Palace of Kuskovo in Russia, which is designed and decorated in neoclassical style. It is so perfect you can draw the façade with one line, like Matisse. Ulitsa Yunosti 2, Moscow 111402 (+7495-370 0160; www.kuskovo.ru).
In my fridge you’ll always find Ossetra caviar – I buy it at Eliseevsky in Moscow, La Maison du Caviar in Paris and Petrossian in New York – Pol Roger champagne and Coke Zero. I also love cherimoya fruits, which I get at Grace’s Marketplace or Dean & DeLuca. Dean & DeLuca, 1150 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10028 (+1212-717 0800; www.deandeluca.com) and branches.Eliseevsky, Ulitsa Tverskaya 14, Moscow 125009 (+7495-650 4643; www.eliseevsky.ru). Grace’s Marketplace, 1237 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10021 (+1212-737 0600; www.gracesmarketplace.com). La Maison du Caviar, 21 Rue Quentin-Bauchart, 75008 Paris. Petrossian, 182 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019 (+1212-245 2214; www.petrossian.com). Pol Roger Champagne, www.polroger.com.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Francis Bacon. I love his work, the melting flesh. Looking at his paintings is like adding a strange force to your vision; you see not only the exterior but also the interior of a person.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Left Bank in Paris, around the Rue du Bac in the 7th arrondissement. I love all the small antique dealers: the Galerie Frémontier, Galerie Sylvain Lévy-Alban and Galerie Golovanoff. I’ve bought a lot there over the years; it’s a little bit like Pimlico Road in London used to be. Galerie Frémontier, 5 Quai Voltaire (+331-4261 6490; www.fremontier.com). Galerie Golovanoff, 21 Rue de Beaune (+331-4261 0375; www.galerie-golovanoff.com). Galerie Sylvain Lévy-Alban, 33 Quai Voltaire (+331-4261 2542; www.levyalban-antiques-paris.com).
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are my personal trainer, my tennis coach (we’re lucky to have a grass court at the château), my hairdresser Philippe Amouroux and my masseur Peter Slany – all of whom work on a private-client basis only. There’s also my ski instructor, Toni Aufdenblatten, in Zermatt. Matterhorn Ski & Snowboard School (+4127-966 2466; www.skischulezermatt.ch).
My favourite website is Google Earth, which I use a lot, but the internet is not really my cup of tea. I do look at The New York Times for news and Christie’s and Sotheby’s for auctions and results. www.christies.com. www.earth.google.com. www.nytimes.com. www.sothebys.com.
If I didn’t live in New York and Paris, the city I would live in is Buenos Aires. I like a city to be quite diverse, with an intense cultural life where you can shop and also breathe in the monuments, and quite progressive. I buy polo shirts and boots at La Martina; carpincho gloves at Casa López; and visit the Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo and Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco. La Bourgogne, in the Alvear Palace Hotel, is probably one of the best restaurants in South America. Casa López, Marcelo T de Alvear 640 (+5411-4311 3044; www.casalopez.com) and branch. La Bourgogne, Alvear Palace Hotel, Avenida Alvear 1891 (+5411-4808 2100; www.alvearpalace.com). La Martina, Vedia 3626 (+5411-4315 0861; www.lamartina.com) and branches. Museo de Arte Hispanoamericano Isaac Fernández Blanco, Calle Suipacha 1422 (+5411-4327 0228; www.museos.buenosaires.gob.ar). Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, Avenida del Libertador 1902 (+5411-4807 2751; www.mnad.org).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an actor or a shepherd. I have two opposite poles: I loved acting at school, but when I’m in an amazing, faraway place, I think of something more profound. People can have different sorts of happiness.