Adam Brown talks personal taste: Part One

Adam Brown brought sharp tailoring to men’s swimwear with the launch of Orlebar Brown in 2007 and recently introduced a women’s line

Adam Brown 
Adam Brown  | Image: Brijesh Patel

My personal style signifier is wearing navy top to toe. My go-to item is a navy piqué polo shirt – long-sleeved with cuffs in cooler weather, short-sleeved in summer – with navy chinos and cashmere. For smart occasions, I have a very dark inky Lanvin tuxedo and a Lanvin navy suit. Then there are my slightly round Tom Ford glasses – I have six pairs, all identical – and my belt by RRL, Ralph Lauren’s vintage line; it is cracked dark brown leather with a chunky gold buckle and I’ve worn it every day for 25 years.

The last thing I bought and loved was a 100-year-old albino turtle shell mounted on a stand from Dover Street Market. I love old pieces and also find myself constantly looking for pattern and texture in natural objects – leaves, the road, a stone; this shell is just the most beautiful thing. 17-18 Dover Street, London W1 (020-7518 0687;

Brown’s 100-year-old albino turtle shell
Brown’s 100-year-old albino turtle shell | Image: Brijesh Patel

And the thing I’m eyeing next is a 1970s black Peugeot 504 cabriolet with big padded velour seats. There’s an element of practicality as it’s very comfortable and it really goes, but it’s also very graceful, with great lines.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Hebrides. We rented a beautiful boat called Hebridean Princess for my friend Jonathan Reed’s birthday and spent a week sailing the islands. The interior was far from glamorous, but every day we went somewhere different and moored up in these incredible bays for the night. The weather was fantastic – it was late spring, sunny and cold – and there was something about the scenery and the light; it sounds corny, but the vistas are just so big.


The last music I downloaded was Laurie Anderson’s Strange Angels. About 20 years ago I took a road trip along Route 1 and this experimental, quirky album was the soundtrack. I listen to it now and it brings the trip right back.

The best gift I’ve received recently is a picture called Young Boy by Christian Bérard, which used to hang in David Collins’s flat. He was a really good friend and neighbour and my partner Tom and I would go round almost every week. When he died, the contents of his flat were auctioned. Tom put in a bid and bought it for me. It looks a bit like Munch’s The Scream and isn’t especially beautiful or valuable, but I like the fact it was his.

The Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides 
The Isle of Skye, Inner Hebrides  | Image: 4Corners Images

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a pair of Balenciaga black, navy and white canvas high-tops from I’ve always adored that retro Jack Purcell-style sneaker and this is the best modern incarnation I’ve seen. I think the menswear edit at is brilliant.

My favourite room in my house is the kitchen. There’s a big kingfisher-blue banquette, a log burner and a big window looking onto the street. This is where we’ll sit drinking coffee, reading the Sunday papers and watching the world go by, which I love. For me, this space is about home, warmth and downtime.

Brown’s Balenciaga sneakers from
Brown’s Balenciaga sneakers from

The grooming staples I’m never without are Weleda skincare products because they are very natural; This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray because I’m an insomniac and I love the lavender scent; and a Comme des Garçons fragrance called Monocle Scent One: Hinoki. It’s a subtle musk – I can’t bear overpowering colognes. I wear it when I go out. Comme des Garçons Monocle Scent One: Hinoki, £75 for 50ml EDT; This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, £16 for 75ml; Weleda, 0115-944 8222;

An object I would never part with is the box containing a series of portraits of my grandmother that I took over a 10-year period with my Hasselbad 503 CW camera. My grandmother brought me up and this is an incredibly personal record of her life during that time.

His portraits of his grandmother
His portraits of his grandmother | Image: Brijesh Patel

My favourite websites are It’s Nice That, which curates lots of inspiring content from new artists, graphic designers and filmmakers; Nowness and Artnet for ideas that I print out and keep on file; and Mr Porter and for shopping.

For more personal style files from leading fashion designers, see Thom Browne, Dunhill’s John Ray, or queen of cool Isabel Marant


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