The Aesthete: Francesca Amfitheatrof talks personal taste

Tiffany & Co’s first female design director has a creative pedigree that includes working with Asprey and Alessi

Francesca Amfitheatrof at home in Connecticut
Francesca Amfitheatrof at home in Connecticut | Image: © Weston Wells

My personal style signifiers are two silver and plastic wrist tags I wear all the time. I created the design about 20 years ago, initially just for myself. They became trendy in Japan and then launched globally. After that Alessi bought the design but recently gave me the rights back. You click the tag on and that’s it – you have to cut it off or wear it out.

Cosme, New York
Cosme, New York | Image: Fiamma Piacentini

The last thing I bought and loved was a painting from Berlin’s Peres Projects Gallery that I found at a small contemporary art fair in Milan called Miart. It’s by a German artist called David Ostrowski. I’m excited as I’ve since  been to Art Miami and saw that there was an exhibition of his work at  the Rubell Collection. His art is really about non-painting, taking away rather than adding decoration; he might use newspaper and card, for example, and then rip some of it off. Less is more for Ostrowski, which I believe in.


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a family of Mini Beasts, the crazy, furry animal stools made of sheepskin, fur, bronze and leather by the Haas Brothers. They look like cartoon animals, with ebony horns or antennae and cast‑bronze legs and feet. If you had one, you’d want to name it and say hi to it in the morning. Price on request;

Sisley Ecological Compound, £144 for 125ml
Sisley Ecological Compound, £144 for 125ml | Image: © Weston Wells

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a green velvet military long coat with a black houndstooth pattern by Haider Ackermann. I love his tailored attitude; he also makes the best skinny leather trousers. When I first launched the Tiffany T collection, I wrote to him, as I felt there was a strong connection with his work. I didn’t hear back from him, but much later we met at a dinner and now we’re friends. There’s a strong synergy with my own aesthetic. £2,310;

Mini Beasts by the Haas Brothers, price on request
Mini Beasts by the Haas Brothers, price on request | Image: Courtesy of Joe Kramm/R & Company

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Cosme in New York’s Flatiron District, an incredible contemporary Mexican restaurant, the first to be opened by the young Mexican chef Enrique Olvera. The architecture is quite rigorous, the decor serene and calming, in warm, earthy colours. I took a Mexican friend and it got the seal of approval. I ate a corn tortilla with chopped tomatoes and sea urchin. 35East 21st St, New York, NY 10010 (+1212-913 9659;

Amfitheatrof’s Haider Ackermann coat, £2,310
Amfitheatrof’s Haider Ackermann coat, £2,310

The beauty staple I’m never without is Sisley’s Ecological Compound, a balancing treatment to fight environmental stress. It’s like food for your face. £144 for 125ml;

Charbonnel et Walker English Rose & Violet Truffles, £30 for 275g
Charbonnel et Walker English Rose & Violet Truffles, £30 for 275g | Image: © Weston Wells

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Napali coast on Kauai. Geologically it’s the oldest of the Hawaiian islands and the coastline is dramatic and voluptuous; you can feel the mana or spirit there. I went on a trip with my design team as inspiration for our latest Blue Book collection. We worked a lot, but it was stimulating: we learnt to weave hula skirts, picked shells on the beach, hiked, sketched. We rented a house there and it was all organised by the brilliant Diedre Fox, whose husband, Ryan, is a Michelin-starred private chef who cooked amazing breakfasts for us, including caramelised pineapple tart and banana, chocolate and macadamia nut French toast.

Kauai’s Napali coast
Kauai’s Napali coast | Image: Alamy

An indulgence I would never forgo is rose and violet creams from Charbonnel et Walker. When I’m in London I go to the store on Old Bond Street and stock up. I used to keep them in the fridge until they told me not to as it spoils the chocolate. Now I can’t buy as many as I would like. From £30 for 275g;28 Old Bond St, London W1 (020-7318 2075;


My favourite websites are – now that I live in the US, I miss the UK news – and, another great source of current affairs, seen from a different perspective. My father was a foreign correspondent for Time magazine so news has always been an important part of my life.

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