Carolina Bucci talks personal taste: Part Two

The Florentine jeweller concludes her list of likes with Marella Agnelli, the artist Domenico Gnoli and the peace and privacy of New York’s Grammercy Park

Carolina Bucci at home in west London
Carolina Bucci at home in west London | Image: Sebastian Boettcher

My style icon is Marella Agnelli, for her confident and yet understated relaxed glamour. Anyone needing a reminder that true style is about idiosyncratic decision making should buy her book Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Spring, Skye Gyngell’s new restaurant in Somerset House, which combines a beautiful room and challenging, diverse flavours. A favourite memory of when I first moved to London 10 years ago was being taken for lunch at Petersham Nurseries on a summer’s afternoon. Spring left me with the same feeling of satisfaction at being in exactly the right place. Somerset House, Lancaster Place, London WC2 (020-3011 0115; www.springrestaurant.co.uk).

Marella Agnelli at the Villa Bona, 1969, from Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan
Marella Agnelli at the Villa Bona, 1969, from Marella Agnelli: The Last Swan | Image: Ugo Mulas

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Ninfa Gardens in Rome. It is the most intoxicatingly romantic place, and features an ancient village in ruins. Much of it is planted in the English-garden style and it’s like being on some modern-day Grand Tour. www.fondazionecaetani.org.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Domenico Gnoli. He died very young, just after his big breakout exhibition in 1969 at Sidney Janis Gallery in New York. His paintings from that year focus on clothing details – buttons, shirt collars and so on – in extreme close-up. They are both pop art and surrealist at once and could have been painted yesterday.

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An object I would never part with is my Typo 2 keyboard for my iPhone 6 – the only way I can get over giving up my BlackBerry. £49.95; www.amazon.co.uk. www.typokeyboards.myshopify.com.

The people I rely on for wellbeing include Francesca the Method, who has her own brand of reformer Pilates. I prefer exercise classes that tell me definitively what to do, and she makes sure you don’t stray from her trademarked techniques; it’s punchy and resets my posture so I feel energised and alert. I also see nutritionist Jane Clarke, who steers your diet in a way that never feels like a crude list of dos and don’ts. She is very calming – talking to her is like a form of meditation. www.francescathemethod.com. Jane Clarke, 148 Harley Street, London W1 (07967-125 587; www.janeclarke.com).

Spring restaurant, Somerset House
Spring restaurant, Somerset House | Image: Amber Rowlands

If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is New York. I moved there from Florence aged 18 to study art and then jewellery design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and fell instantly in love with it – it was so much faster and bigger than anything I was used to. I eventually left, but very reluctantly. My favourite spots are the private and peaceful Gramercy Park – I would love to have a key; the Frick, especially for the magnolias outside in spring; the High Line, which is the best regeneration of a public space; Madison Avenue, around 89th Street and below, for its shops and galleries – I long to open a store there one day; and the Roof Garden bar at the Met. Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street (+1212-288 0700; www.frick.org). The High Line (+1212-500 6035; www.thehighline.org). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (+1212-535 7710; www.metmuseum.org).

The books on my bedside table are Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende – I love her writing and she is the only non-Italian author whose books I always read in Italian, as they seem less magical in English – and Memories of a Collector by Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo, the autobiography of one of the great modern art collectors. He bought Ryman, Judd, Flavin, Turrell and Serra in earnest before anybody in Europe was really paying attention.

High Line at the Rail Yards, New York
High Line at the Rail Yards, New York | Image: Iwan Baan

In my fridge you’ll always find good prosciutto, pecorino and Parmesan, berries for making smoothies, fresh zucchini, Sicilian lemons, San Pellegrino water and unripe green apples. I love seeing the fridge full and well organised, all labels facing forward.

The best souvenirs I’ve brought home are pebbles from Queen’s Beach in Sveti Stefan, Montenegro, and Tellaro in Liguria for our new family memory jars. I am teaching my children to hang onto beautiful memories through small objects, an attitude that permeates my jewellery.

Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende
Maya’s Notebook by Isabel Allende

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Mount Street area in London. I love the mix of stores, which have mostly all opened while I have lived in London, making it feel more personal. My favourites are Céline for cool fashion, Moynat for understated, perfect bags, Massimo de Carlo for art and Allens the butcher. I also love lunch at Scott’s. Allens, 117 Mount Street (020-7499 5831; www.allensofmayfair.com). Céline, 103 Mount Street (020-7491 8200; www.celine.com). Massimo de Carlo, 55 South Audley Street (020-7287 2005; www.massimodecarlo.com). Moynat, 112 Mount Street (020-7495 3885; www.moynat.com). Scott’s, 20 Mount Street (020-7495 7309; www.scotts-restaurant.com).  

My favourite room in my house is the blue-and-black guest bedroom in our home in upstate New York. It has the most calming view over the woods outside, with a real mishmash of art and furniture that coexists perfectly. When we bought the house I wanted it to be our master bedroom; my husband wanted the larger one at the back of the house with a bigger bathroom. We tossed a coin – he, and our guests, won.

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If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a ceramics painter. When I was at art school I used to dream of having a shop full of colourful plates and cups, and my own kiln in the back.

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