Roksanda Ilincic talks personal taste: Part One

Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic’s uniquely artistic vision of femininity has put her label at the forefront of high-end fashion

Roksanda Ilincic
Roksanda Ilincic | Image: Richard Grassie

My personal style signifier is one of my own label colour-block dresses. I like to pair them with black polo-neck tops from Whistles; their austerity works well with the vibrant colours. I’m not a jeans person at all. I can’t remember the last time I wore them. www.roksandailincic.com. www.whistles.co.uk.

Rio rocking chaise, c1970, by Oscar Niemeyer
Rio rocking chaise, c1970, by Oscar Niemeyer | Image: 1stdibs.com

The last thing I bought and loved was a vintage Hermès shoulder bag. I collect them. It’s not one of the recognisable designs; it’s simple, with a gold fastening, probably from the 1960s or 1970s. I bought this one from an amazing vintage dealer in Hong Kong who specialised in mint-condition vintage bags by Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Sadly, the store has now closed down.

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The thing I’m eyeing next is an Oscar Niemeyer Rio rocking chaise. It is like a sculpture, with a black frame and leather headrest, and one piece of continuous, curved wood forms the rocker.

Frédéric Malle’s Une Rose perfume by Edouard Flechier, £180 for 100ml
Frédéric Malle’s Une Rose perfume by Edouard Flechier, £180 for 100ml

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the island of Pantelleria. With its volcanic earth and dry terrain, it has the feel of Africa, despite being in Italy. The landscape is entirely stark except for the incredible vegetation, which includes spiky cacti and carpets of bougainvillea flowers blowing in the wind. The island has an otherworldly feel; I really felt like I had been transported to another planet.

The island of Pantelleria, Italy
The island of Pantelleria, Italy | Image: Huber Johanna/SIME-4Corners Images

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Kazimir Malevich. Being from Serbia, I grew up with his work. I first saw his paintings in museums, but at school we also had very elaborate art-history classes during which we learnt all about his work and life. I would love to collect his pieces in a dream world.

Dabbous restaurant, London
Dabbous restaurant, London

The grooming staples I’m never without include Frédéric Malle’s perfume Une Rose. I’ve always loved rose scents and was searching for the best one for a long time. I am never without red lipstick either. At the moment I love Lady Danger from Mac. I also use rosemary leaf, cedarwood bark and juniper berry shampoo and black pepper, coriander seed and sea salt body wash by Aesop. They have a very subtle fragrance. Aesop Classic Shampoo, £17 for 200ml, and Coriander Seed Body Cleanser, £15 for 200ml; www.aesop.com. Frédéric Malle Une Rose perfume, £180 for 100ml; www.fredericmalle.com. Mac Lady Danger lipstick, £14; www.maccosmetics.com.

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The last music I downloaded was the best of Esma Redžepova, a great folk singer from back home. Listening to this brings back memories of dancing all night in a field with my friends. I like mixing different musical eras, and enjoy the work of classical composer Erik Satie as much as the 1980s funk group ESG. At my fashion shows I surprise the audience by, say, playing a recording of grunge tracks performed on a piano. www.esma.com.mk.

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is marzipan cookies from Erice in Sicily. Erice is at the top of a mountain, reached by gondola. There’s a bakery there called Pastisserie Maria Grammatico that sells homemade cookies, following a special recipe that’s been passed down through the family for generations. Via Vittorio Emmanuel 14, 91016 Erice, Sicily (+3909-2386 9390; www.mariagrammatico.it).

An object I would never part with is an art-deco frame with a very elegant floral decoration. I bought it in a great shop in London called Style Antiques. It contains a photograph of my daughter and as I travel a lot for work, I carry it everywhere with me. 10 Camden Passage, London N1 (020-7359 7867; www.styleantiques.co.uk).

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Dabbous. It was booked as a surprise by my husband. Being a visual person, I loved the way the meals were presented, such as a coddled egg served in its shell on a nest of hay. I also remember a salad with rose petals; to add that texture and smell into food was so original and delicious. 39 Whitfield St, London W1 (020-7323 1544; www.dabbous.co.uk).

My favourite website is 1stDibs, as I love to collect vintage pieces, and it is amazing what great clothes and accessories, but also art and furniture, you can find. www.1stdibs.com.

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