My personal style signifiers are a white, tailored dress shirt and a black waistcoat. I can’t quite remember when I started wearing this combination or why, but it makes me feel comfortable and smart. I like my shirts to be perfectly pressed and I’m happy to wear a waistcoat for both day and evening. Once upon a time my answer might have been a ruby earring, or two watches worn on the same wrist, but I realise that my style is changing with age.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a red mikado-silk jacket. I designed it for our summer show and found it to be full of energy, strength and colour. I recently wore it to a party in Milan and then again on a trip to Shanghai. Mikado has a wonderful consistency because it’s a stiff silk with a texture I love. It’s the first time I’ve worn a jacket like that and it felt very festive.
The site that inspires me is Sicily, which is so very special. From its baroque churches to the Norman and Arabic influences, it is like no other part of the world. It’s an island with mountains where you can ski, there’s a dramatic volcano in the form of Mount Etna, and it’s home to some of the world’s most beautiful cities, including Palermo, Catania and Modica. And then there is swimming in the sea off our boat, with the Aeolian Islands and the beaches of Cefalù in the distance. I could talk about it for hours.
The last music I downloaded was Right Here, Right Now by Giorgio Moroder and Kylie Minogue, which has a great beat. Kylie’s our little princess; she’s a real friend and I love her – and her music – very much.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Maldives. The atolls are so beautiful and pristine that it makes you feel lucky just to be there. I try to go when it’s winter in Milan, just for a bit of sun and rest. I can’t say which atoll is my favourite but I particularly like staying at the One & Only Reethi Rah; the water villas set over the crystal-clear lagoon are a dream. reethirah.oneandonlyresorts.com.
A recent “find” is the China Club in Hong Kong, a retro-chic members’ club that captures the traditional atmosphere of China in the 1930s and 40s – a period of time I adore. It feels a bit like being in Shanghai, with elements of Hong Kong and even Europe thrown in because of all the art and antiquities. I also love the teahouse vibe and authentic cuisine. 12/F, The Old Bank of China Building, Bank Street, Central, Hong Kong (+852-2521 8888; www.chinaclub.com.sg).
An object I would never part with is a simple gold band with a ruby, my favourite stone. I had it made 20 years ago by a jeweller in northern Italy and it’s like a form of protection. It reminds me of my parents, and I only take it off to sleep or swim.
In my fridge you’ll always find fresh fish, particularly swordfish and sea bass, that I get at Pescheria Spadari, just a minute from Duomo Square in Milan. There are also eggs, vegetables and more vegetables – whichever are in season. I try to follow a balanced Mediterranean diet but there will always be a jar of Nutella too – though not in the fridge or it goes hard. 4 Via Spadari, 20123 Milan (+3902-878 250; www.pescheriaspadari.it).
The thing I’ve got my eye on is a late summer holiday to the seaside. I spend my life flying all over the world so I like a relaxing beach vacation. I haven’t picked a place yet, but Portofino or sailing in the Mediterranean are always good choices.
The best gift I’ve given recently was a love letter. I’ve given so many material gifts but for me, a letter is the most beautiful because it comes from the heart. I’m not telling you what was in it.
And the best one I’ve received was the reply to my love letter. I wasn’t expecting it, which made it all the more special. Reading the words of a person who loves you is, I think, a singular and wonderful experience.
My favourite websites are Corriere della Sera for keeping up to date on news and fashion reviews; the Daily Telegraph for its spot-on fashion blogs; and Vogue UK, where I have fun reading columns by Suzy Menkes. Her observations are always spiced with a bit of irony. www.corriere.it. www.telegraph.co.uk. www.vogue.co.uk.