Alexandra Champalimaud talks personal taste: Part One

Alexandra Champalimaud counts The Dorchester and The Carlyle among the clients of her eponymous New York-based design company

Alexandra Champalimaud at her New York home
Alexandra Champalimaud at her New York home | Image: Martin Adolfsson

My personal style signifiers are black leather leggings from The Row topped with a feminine blouse and a sharp, tailored blazer. I have always liked the juxtaposition of something edgy with something soft. I am also almost never without a bespoke ring by Claude Lalanne. And while I hate to admit it, I can’t do a thing without my tortoiseshell Face A Face glasses. Claude Lalanne, from www.louisaguinnessgallery.com. Face A Face glasses,from £234; www.faceaface-paris.com. The Row leather leggings, from £1,263; www.therow.com.

The last thing I bought and loved is a set of 18th-century-style rosewood folding chairs reproduced by the Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva in Lisbon, the Portuguese design school I attended that has so profoundly shaped my career. These chairs are handcrafted in the traditional manner, with an impeccable attention to detail. www.fress.pt.

Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva folding chair
Fundação Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva folding chair

And the thing I am eyeing next is a small, sexy New York pied-à-terre at 100 11th Avenue, which I am in the process of buying, and hope eventually to move into.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Harbour Island in the Bahamas. My family took me there last winter for a birthday bash at Pip Simmons’ Ocean View Club. The island has retained its charm and is wonderfully laid back, unspoiled and proud. Golf carts are still preferred to cars. Few things beat a late lunch and a margarita on the deck of Sip Sip, overlooking that long, pink, sandy beach. Ocean View Club, Harbour Island (+242-333 2276; www.oceanviewclub.org). Sip Sip, Court Street, Harbour Island (+242-333 3316).

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And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is Lucinda, my black English field spaniel puppy. She has emigrated to the US to join my other beloved spaniel, Oscar, who is now her betrothed.  

The beauty staples I’m never without are Luzern’s facial tonic spray, which I douse myself in daily, and I also have regular oxygen facials to keep my skin healthy and refreshed. In lieu of creams, I use the Ayurvedic body oils we developed for Charym spa, as they are rich and nourishing. Charym body oils, from $25. www.charym.com. LuzernAlpine Isotonic Fluid, $38,www.luzernlabs.com.

Champalimaud’s spaniel, Lucinda
Champalimaud’s spaniel, Lucinda | Image: Martin Adolfsson

A recent “find” is the Monocle shop in London. This tiny boutique is chock-full of beautifully designed items for the men in my life – everything from wooden puzzles and sensible luggage to brilliant knitted sports jackets. 2A George Street, London W1 (020-7486 8770; www.monocle.com).

In my fridge you will always find Vita Coco coconut water, Côte d’Or Belgian chocolate and a bottle of the surprisingly wonderful Gruet Brut NV, which is produced by a French family in New Mexico using traditional méthode champenoise techniques. www.cotedor.com. www.gruetwinery.com. www.vitacoco.com/uk.

Charym spa’s Luscious Lakshmi body oil, $27 for 15ml
Charym spa’s Luscious Lakshmi body oil, $27 for 15ml | Image: www.charym.com

The last music I downloaded was Ray Lamontagne’s soulful Gossip in the Grain album – the perfect complement to quiet evenings by the fire at our house in Litchfield, Connecticut. And a friend who shares my appreciation for Latin jazz recently recommended Federico Aubele, whose album Panamericana is fantastic. www.federicoaubele.com. www.raylamontagne.com.

My favourite websites are FT.com and WSJ.com for my daily news fix. And also Wahanda, which helps me find spas and beauty treatments in Europe. www.ft.com. www.wahanda.com. www.wsj.com.  

The Monocle shop, London
The Monocle shop, London | Image: Monocle

The books on my bedside table are Pereira Maintains by the Italian writer Antonio Tabucchi, which follows a culture journalist for a small Lisbon newspaper as he struggles with his conscience, and Robert MacFarlane’s The Wild Places.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Negiya Heikichi in Kyoto, also known as Heikichi Onion Shop. It is located in a historic house alongside the Takasegawa canal. The grilled vegetables are to die for and the signature dish is an onion carefully grilled over binchotan charcoal, served with a little miso on the side and a wonderful sake. The chef closed the restaurant early to join us in ringing the big gong at a nearby temple to usher in the New Year. 260-4 Ichinocho, Shimogyoku, Kyoto (+817-5342 4430).

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