My personal style signifiers are a deep blue blazer by Patrick Johnson, a great young tailor who works between Melbourne, Sydney and New York; monogrammed shirts made for me by Patrizia Sembroni in Rome; brown or black gommini by Car Shoe, now owned by Prada but the original and oldest maker of this style of shoe; and usually a belt with a lovely geometric pattern on it from Arandú in Buenos Aires. www.arandu.com.ar. www.carshoe.com. www.pjt.com.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the far north of Ethiopia, a region called Tigray [pictured], bordering with Eritrea. It’s incredibly desolate and beautiful, with a series of altipiani – high plains – falling one into the other as far as you can see. We slept in wonderful little huts, trekking with porters from one to the next through untouched countryside. The best thing was the people; they are some of the most beautiful you will ever see in your life – very elegant, very dignified and remarkably gentle.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a Cannondale racing bicycle [pictured], from this great shop in Sorrento called Reaction Retail. It’s not that far from where I live, but it felt like a souvenir because I really love this shop. I cycle regularly with a group of locals on the Amalfitana road. I am not the fittest of cyclists but this is a serious road bike, from a very serious American brand. From about £850; Viale Nizza 58, 80067 Sorrento (www.sorrentobike.com).
A recent “find” is Pierluigi [pictured], a lovely seafood restaurant in Rome. It has been around for decades but somehow I’d never been. I loved the atmosphere, which is quite elegant, and sitting outside in the beautiful little Piazza de’ Ricci. But I think it was the extraordinary selection of fish, and the pride the staff took in selecting and preparing it for us, that impressed me so much; it was like eating great fish at home in Positano. Piazza de’ Ricci 144, 0018 Rome (+3906-686 8717; www.pierluigi.it). www.voltzclarke.com.
The sight that inspires me is the view from Nocelle, a tiny village up the steep mountain above Positano. There’s a stairway carved into the side of the mountain, almost 2,000 steps; on the days I don’t cycle, I run up them, all the way to the village. What I love is the endless space, the beautiful shades of the sea, and the lighter shades of the sky, cascading right down into it. Sometimes the sea is streaked by the white of boats on the water; sometimes the sky by the vapour trails of a plane. To me, that view looks like eternity.
My three carry-on essentials are Bose in-ear noise-cancelling headphones [pictured]; a Kindle; and my Apple MacBook Pro, the latest model. A rather boring list, I concede, but the truth. Kindle, from £50; www.kindle.amazon.com. MacBook Pro, from about £800; www.apple.com. QuietComfort 20 headphones, £300; www.bose.com.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was socks from Gammarelli in Rome, which is an ecclesiastical tailors just behind the Pantheon. They’re this incredible, bright purple colour, the colour of the cardinals’ cassocks. I buy them regularly. Ditta Annibale Gammarelli, Via di Santa Chiara 34, 00186 Rome (+3906-6880 1314; www.gammarelli.com).
The hotel bar that blew me away is at the Baccarat in New York [pictured]. It was the decor first, which is elegant and contemporary, but also the atmosphere, which is sort of old-fashioned with very classic, flawless service; the waiters are incredibly elegant. And the barmen… they know precisely what they’re doing. 28 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019 (+1212-790 8800; www.baccarathotels.com).
Next on my holiday wish list is Sicily, though I have been once before, many years ago. I love its history. I want to see Taormina again, and the lovely baroque city of Noto, in the southeast. I’ve had so many friends go to that part of the island recently and bring back these amazing descriptions.
My favourite websites are Paddle8, for curated online auctions; Voltz-Clarke, owned by my friend Blair Voltz-Clarke, for discovering amazing new artists; and Christie’s, for buying antiques for the hotel. And I read The New York Times online every morning. www.christies.com. www.nytimes.com. www.paddle8.com.