Diego Della Valle talks personal style: Part One

The creative vision of Tod’s Diego Della Valle has transformed his family’s small shoe business into a global leather goods empire

Diego Della Valle in his apartment in Milan
Diego Della Valle in his apartment in Milan | Image: Gaia Cambiaggi

My personal style signifiers are a navy blazer, custom-made for me by tailor Ferdinando Caraceni in Milan, and a pair of faded old Levi’s 501s, though some of my designer friends will be upset with me for this. I have collections of both items; there is not one of my houses that does not contain at least one of each. Ferdinando Caraceni, Via S Marco 22, 20121 Milan (+3902-655 4284; www.caracenisartoria.net). www.levi.com.

Della Valle’s Acqua di Parma cologne, £60 for 50ml EDC
Della Valle’s Acqua di Parma cologne, £60 for 50ml EDC

The best gift I’ve given recently was an ornate, hand-engraved and very beautiful silver box, from Argentiere Pagliai. This old silversmiths’ family is very talented and very esteemed in Florence. I can’t recall if I gave one most recently to one of my children, or grandchildren, or one of my friends – but it’s a gift I give to the people I care about most, always with that person’s initials on it. Borgo S Jacopo 41, 50125 Florence (+3905-528 2840; www.argentierepagliai.it).

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And the best one I’ve received is some pictures of my grandchildren, from my son Emanuele. They are seven, five and two years old and they live in New York.

Lourdes Basilica
Lourdes Basilica | Image: Getty Images

A recent “find” is a small Thai restaurant on Shek O Beach in Hong Kong, called Shek O Chinese & Thai. It’s not luxurious – it’s caratteristico and casual, memorable for its fresh, simple but very good food. 303 Shek O Village Road (+852-2809 4426).

Harry’s Bar in Venice
Harry’s Bar in Venice

The last music I bought was a CD by Louis Prima, who recorded in the 1950s. His sound falls somewhere between popular music and jazz.  

Della Valle’s Louis Prima CD
Della Valle’s Louis Prima CD

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Lourdes, which surprised me, as it may others. I spent just one day there and was struck by the profoundness of its energy, by what actually happened there and what it transmits spiritually.

Red Train by Liu Changwen
Red Train by Liu Changwen | Image: Courtesy of Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, © The artist

The book on my bedside table is My Lunches with Orson: Conversations Between Henry Jaglom and Orson Welles. It’s a profile of Welles conveyed through various long lunch conversations over the years with his friend Jaglom, who was also a film director. I instantly understood the acuity, the enormous intelligence of the man. And it was very amusing – I read it in two days.

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The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a very typical but beautiful painting by the artist Liu Changwen, which I bought at a gallery in Hong Kong. I was taken by the technique, and how it addresses important topics in the life of a great nation. Galerie du Monde, 11 Duddell Street, Central (+852-2525 0529; www.galeriedumonde.com).

The grooming staple I’m never withoutis Acqua di Parma. For as long as I can remember this has been my cologne. £60 for 50ml EDC; www.acquadiparma.com.

My favourite room in my house is the library/TV room. It’s my favourite room in all my houses. Each of my homes is very different of course, but this room within them always has certain characteristics: it is small; there are beautiful antique maps hung on the walls; there are shelves filled with books; and in almost every one there is a fireplace. They are personal and private, the rooms I always find myself in.

The place that inspires me is Capri – you knew I would say this because I have said it many times before – and the whole Amalfi Coast. When you combine them they give you everything: beautiful views, the beautiful scents of nature – especially the sea – and of course beautiful food, all of which represent the very Italian ethos of slow living. But also because they are so familiar to me; Capri is perhaps the only place on earth where I truly relax.

The last meal that truly impressed mewas dinner with friends at Harry’s Bar in Venice a few months ago. I always eat well there – in fact, I almost always eat the same thing: risotto primavera. Calle Vallaresso 1323, 30124 Venice (+39041-528 5777; www.harrysbarvenezia.com).

My favourite websites are Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica and Il Sole 24 Ore. I also read the front-page stories of The New York Times and The Times every day. www.corriere.it. www.ilsole24ore.com. www.repubblica.it. www.nytimes.com. www.thetimes.co.uk.

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