Ian Schrager talks personal taste: Part One

Progenitor of the boutique hotel, Ian Schrager will open the London Edition in Spring 2013.

Ian Schrager at his offices in New York.
Ian Schrager at his offices in New York. | Image: Dylan Coulter

My personal style signifier is a collarless Hilditch & Key white linen shirt. I’ve been wearing them for maybe 25 years. I discovered the tailors in London and bought some shirts that came with detachable collars. I started wearing them without the collars and it became a kind of signature look for me. I have a uniform: a pair of jeans and one of these shirts. 37 Jermyn Street, London SW1 (020-7734 4707; www.hilditchandkey.co.uk).

The David Barton Gym in New York.
The David Barton Gym in New York. | Image: Eric Laignel

The last thing I bought and loved was a customised bed that Julian Schnabel made for me. It looks like an old-fashioned sleigh bed, but made out of antique bronze. www.julianschnabel.com.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a selection of beautiful ephemera at Axel Vervoordt’s Antwerp warehouse; it will be a shopping spree. This is a man who relishes the simplicity of things. He has warehouses full of objects and art he’s collected, and it is all for sale. When I was last there, I saw a Giacometti sculpture, tribal icons, Inuit idols, contemporary and antique furniture... it’s an adult toy store. +323-355 3300; www.axel-vervoordt.com.

John Adams by David McCullough.
John Adams by David McCullough.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Gurgaon in India. We’re doing a hotel there [Edition] with Pankaj Munjal, the chairman of Hero Motors, which will open in a few years. I was completely taken by Gurgaon’s energy. It’s become this fast-growing technological hub – the Silicon Valley of India – and the enlivening energy contrasts with the gentility of the Indian people. It’s amazing working there. www.editionhotels.com.

Axel Vervoordt’s warehouse loft in Antwerp.
Axel Vervoordt’s warehouse loft in Antwerp.

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a beautiful handmade rug from India, a gift from Mr Munjal. It is so big I couldn’t take it on the plane and it’s being shipped to New York. It looks almost as good on the underside as it does on the top.

Dotaku by Ritsue Mishima, from Pierre Marie Giraud in Brussels.
Dotaku by Ritsue Mishima, from Pierre Marie Giraud in Brussels.

The people I rely on for grooming and style include hairstylist Stephen Knoll. I started working with him 20 years ago when he used to come to my house. Then he became a big shot, working with supermodels, so now I’m obliged to go to his salon on Madison Avenue to geta haircut. I use a tailor called Fioravanti, and I have a trainer, David Barton, who makes our workout as sports-oriented as possible. David Barton, +1212-877 1300; www.davidbartongym.com. Stephen Knoll, 625 Madison Avenue, New York 10022 (+1212-421 0100; www.stephenknoll.com). William Fioravanti, 45 West 57th Street, New York 10019 (+1212-355 1540; www.williamfioravanti.com).

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The site that inspires me is the street. I think street culture is overlooked in terms of its significance. You can pick up on cultural trends there just by watching, but the signs are subtle, so you have to pay attention. It’s not like a museum or a book or anything. There is a collective unconscious that we all have, all over the world, and you can feel and read it just by watching people in the street.

A recent “find” is Pierre Marie Giraud’s Brussels gallery, which specialises in contemporary decorative arts. I bought a few pieces there, including a glass work by Japanese artist Ritsue Mishima. 7 Rue de Praetere, 1050 Brussels (+322-503 0351; www.pierremariegiraud.com).

The last music I bought was 300 Beatles songs. I must say, I don’t love the current music that’s out there. I prefer something more melodic. I remember when I was growing up my parents thought what I liked was crazy. Now I look at my kids and the music they listen to and I think the same.

The books on my bedside table are Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, which I’ve just finished – Jobs is one of my idols – and I’m in the process of reading David McCullough’s John Adams. I also have Joseph J Ellis’s His Excellency: George Washington. I love American history and this period in particular, when you had all these key figures shaping the nation.

My favourite websites are The Huffington Post and The Daily Beast. I look at them every day. The bulletins are bite-sized, so you can breeze through them on your iPad and get done with it. I used to run home every evening to catch the news on TV, but now I get it online. www.thedailybeast.com. www.huffingtonpost.com.

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