Pilar Ordovas talks personal taste

A former deputy chairman at Christie’s, Pilar Ordovas founded her Savile Row gallery in 2011, showing work by the likes of Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud

Pilar Ordovas in her apartment in New York
Pilar Ordovas in her apartment in New York | Image: Weston Wells

My personal style signifier is a men’s IWC Portofino watch given to me by my husband for my 40th birthday. It is minimal and beautiful, with a simple black face and black crocodile strap. Dresses in lightweight fabrics by Saint Laurent are my go-to pieces, usually paired with flats by Pretty Ballerinas that are ideal for running between galleries, museums and art fairs. From £3,250;www.iwc.com. From £109; www.prettyballerinas.co.uk. From £1,569; www.ysl.com.

Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò, about $65 for 50ml EDT
Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò, about $65 for 50ml EDT | Image: Weston Wells

The last thing I bought and loved was a sleek, black Tesla Model S. I used to drive a tiny G-Wiz, so this is a luxurious change. Not only does the car seem to fly, I can also drive greater distances in it and I now have room to take friends for day trips. I like that it’s electric and environmentally friendly, but I do have to plan my route carefully so that I can find charging stations along the way. From £58,300; www.teslamotors.com.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a gorgeous Gustavian sofa for my bedroom in New York – sourced by my friend, Scandinavian art and antiques dealer Jill Dienst. This particular piece from the late 1800s is made of light-coloured wood and is upholstered in a very pale grey fabric. I gravitate towards simple, spare, unfussy pieces and imagine that I’ll spend hours reading on this sofa. Dienst + Dotter, 411 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003 (+1212-861 1200; www.dienstanddotter.com).

Ordovas’ IWC Portofino watch
Ordovas’ IWC Portofino watch | Image: Weston Wells

The books on my bedside table are Significant Others: Creativity and Intimate Partnership, an exploration of artist and writer couples such as Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Love in the Time of Cholera is always on my bedside table because I love magical realism and Gabriel García Márquez has the power to transport.

Significant Others, edited by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron
Significant Others, edited by Whitney Chadwick and Isabelle de Courtivron | Image: Weston Wells

A recent “find” is Chisou, an intimate Japanese restaurant near my gallery in London. I like that this place is small, the service is very good and you don’t need to book in advance. I’ll often go to the sushi bar – by myself or with my husband – and order delicious salmon sashimi and the avocado and seaweed salads. The atmosphere is lovely at night as well. 4 Princes Street, London W1 (020-7629 3931; www.chisourestaurant.com).

A Book Like This by Angus and Julia Stone
A Book Like This by Angus and Julia Stone

An object I would never part with is a bright yellow coat that I bought at Zara many years ago. I am particularly fond of it because one of the photos I treasure most – a picture of me with Lucian Freud in his studio, taken by my friend David Dawson – shows me wearing this coat. It is very reminiscent of Courrèges in terms of style and is perfect for adding a pop of colour on a dreary day.

Ordovas and Lucian Freud, by David Dawson
Ordovas and Lucian Freud, by David Dawson | Image: David Dawson/Private Collection/Bridgeman Images

The beauty staples I’m never without are Janet Sartin Hydrating Lotion, for my face – perfect for me because it’s very effective on sensitive skin – and Armani’s Acqua di Giò, which I have been wearing for many years so it’s sort of my signature. It’s light and slightly floral – not at all overpowering. Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò, about $65 for 50ml EDT; www.armanibeauty.co.uk. Janet Sartin Hydrating Lotion, $62 for 1.75oz; www.sartin.com.


The last music I bought was an album called A Book Like This by Angus and Julia Stone. They’re an Australian brother-sister folk-pop duo and I can’t stop listening to their upbeat music and romantic love songs. www.angusandjuliastone.com.

The last thing I added to my wardrobe was a pair of black Louis Vuitton boots that my sister, fashion blogger Paula Ordovas, introduced me to. They are kind of like motorcycle boots – a bit edgy, but very comfortable. I am living in them at the moment – they look good worn with more feminine dresses. Similar from £1,010;www.louisvuitton.com.

My favourite website is Instagram.com because it’s so creative and visual and I follow museums and cultural institutions around the world – as well as my friends, of course. Tate.org.uk is a particularly good website, with original films featuring emerging and established artists. I rely on BBC.co.uk, FT.com and NYTimes.com for the news of the day.

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