My personal style signifier is a hat. I wear one almost every day – less Philip Treacy or Ascot and more masculine, such as Panamas, trilbies, hunting hats made of loden and rabbit hair and top hats with veils. I got one of my most fabulous ones – a black trilby with a sharp feather – from a hatter in Regensburg called Hutkönig, which made headwear for Pope Benedict XVI. From €98; Krauterermarkt 1, D-93047, Regensburg (+49941-51840; www.hutmacher.de).
The last thing I bought and loved was a 20ft magnolia tree from the Burford Garden Company. It has a prime position in my garden and I have been hand-watering it. It’s not easy to replant a big tree, but we dug a large hole for it and I love seeing it flourish. Shilton Road, Burford OX18 4PA (01993-823 117; www.burford.co.uk).
The thing I’m eyeing next is a book subscription from Heywood Hill. They send you a book every month according to your tastes. Mine would be about Russia, jewellery, the 18th century and gardens. It would make a great present, but I’d like it for myself. From £175; 10 Curzon Street, London W1 (020-7629 0647; www.heywoodhill.com).
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a 1930s silk couture dress. It’s very elegant and looks like something Katharine Hepburn might have worn. My daughter bought it for me from a vintage store in LA called Lily et Cie. I love the silk-covered buttons – it’s a bit Philadelphia Story mixed with Downton Abbey. 9044 Burton Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90211 (+1310-724 5757; www.lilyetcie.com).
The site that inspires me is the countryside in Gloucestershire, especially the 18th-century parkland that surrounds my house. I love the liquid light from the sunset that falls over the trees; the morning mist that rises over the landscape; and the moon reflecting on the leaves, casting shadows. In the summertime I stick my head out of the bedroom window and just soak it up.
An object I would never part with is a ruby ring that was given to me by my grandmother, who lived in Bohemia. Her family fled during the war and she carried this ring in a sugar bowl. It’s really special, quite art deco – almost like a teardrop in pigeon-blood red. I never wear it as I am so afraid of losing it. It tells a whole family story.
The beauty staples I’m never without are Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Face Cream, which is like brushing liquid gold onto your face; Crème de la Mer lip balm; SK-II eye gel; and perfumes by Serge Lutens – one I like at the moment is La Fille de Berlin. I wear fragrance every day and don’t feel dressed without it. I like complex ones filled with contradictions. Chantecaille Nano Gold Energizing Face Cream, £370 for 50ml, from Harrods; www.harrods.com. Crème de la Mer The Lip Balm, £42; www.cremedelamer.co.uk. Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin, £69 for 50ml EDP; www.sergelutens.com. SK-II Advanced Eye Treatment Film, £59, from Harrods.
An indulgence I would never forego is fine linen sheets. Most of my linen is Russian – from the Volga Linen company – and is just the right mix of refined and rough. www.volgalinen.co.uk.
The last music I bought was Hungarian Dances by Brahms, which is where the Slavonic blood in my veins comes out, and Santana’s Greatest Hits. Part of my commute involves a 45-minute drive and I love listening to Santana in the car.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Kiev. I love the churches, especially St Sophia Cathedral. And when it’s frozen, the Dnieper river is beautiful. The mix of turn-of-the-century and Stalinist architecture isn’t renovated to a T; it’s still quite authentic, which is often hard to find.
My favourite websites are a travel site called Black Tomato – it allows me to dream – and Maria Doulton’s The Jewellery Editor. I like seeing other CEOs and creative directors speak about their work and I love the clips that give quick trend overviews. www.blacktomato.com; www.thejewelleryeditor.com.