Paula Gerbase talks personal taste

The Savile Row-trained designer is behind fashion label 1205 and the first artistic director of John Lobb shoes

Paula Gerbase at home in London
Paula Gerbase at home in London | Image: © David Yeo

My personal style signifier is probably my fringe, which I have worn the same way since I was five years old. I have cut my own hair since 2009 because I got tired of trying to brief other people when I knew exactly what I wanted. I bought some hair-cutting scissors from Muji and I chop away when it gets to the point where I can’t see any more. £11,www.muji.eu.

Amandes fleur de sel et caramel, £11.50 for 140g
Amandes fleur de sel et caramel, £11.50 for 140g | Image: David Yeo

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Walter De Maria’sThe Lightning Field in New Mexico, a piece of land art. Only six people can visit at a time: you sleep in a cabin, it’s only open from May to October and you stay for 24 hours, walking around exploring the art and the silence. I had to apply for tickets months beforehand and it took 36 hours to get there from London, but it was one of the most special things I’ve ever done. www.diaart.org.

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And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is the Amandes fleur de sel et caramel from David Pasquiet, an artisan chocolatier who has a little shop in Switzerland’s Crans-Montana, where we have a chalet. It’s always our last stop before leaving and I can’t recommend it enough. £11.50 for 140g; David, L’Instant Chocolat, Avenue de la Gare 6, 3693 Crans-Montana (+412-7481 4512; www.instant-chocolat.ch).

Shu restaurant in Paris
Shu restaurant in Paris

The best gift I’ve received recently was from my boyfriend Kim, who gave me a record player, a Rega with a beautiful wooden base. I like records because it means I experience a whole album from start to finish rather than skipping around with iTunes – although I do that too. www.rega.co.uk.

11 de Novembre by Sílvia Pérez Cruz
11 de Novembre by Sílvia Pérez Cruz

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Shu, a Japanese restaurant in Paris. You enter through a secret little door, which you have to crouch down for to pass through. The restaurant is intimate and calm, with the best seats on the wraparound counter. There are just three set menus and ours included kushiage, delicate little skewers of fish, meat and vegetables, fried in breadcrumbs. What I always really look forward to is the ochazuké (green tea rice soup), a simple but beautifully balanced dish. 8 Rue Suger, Paris 75006 (+331-4634 2588; www.restaurant-shu.com).

Gerbase’s Hermès Globe-Trotter, £475
Gerbase’s Hermès Globe-Trotter, £475 | Image: David Yeo

The last music I bought was11 de Novembre by Sílvia Pérez Cruz, Steve Reich’s Triple Quartet and Yuko Ikoma’s Suite for Fragile Chamber Orchestra – all bought at the only place I buy physical records, a great little shop called Otonomad in Tokyo. 1F, 3-2 6-4 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 155 (+813-3485 3946; www.otonomad.com).

Crème de la Mer The Renewal Oil, £160 for 30ml
Crème de la Mer The Renewal Oil, £160 for 30ml

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were some Sunspel Sea Island white cotton T-shirts. The cotton is wonderful quality: they don’t change shape with wear or washing, and last for years. £60; www.sunspel.com.

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An indulgence I would never forgo is my Hermès Globe-Trotter. I write most of my notes when I travel and will sketch and annotate ideas for future collections and current work in progress; there is something beautiful about how the older the leather gets, the better it is. £475 (refills from £35); www.hermes.com.

The grooming staples I’m never without are the Hair Serum #DM027 from David Mallett – I always take it with me when I travel to smooth my hair – along with Crème de la Mer’s The Renewal Oil, which is lightweight but nourishing for my skin. Hair Serum #DM027, £50 for 50ml,www.david-mallett.com. The Renewal Oil, £160 for 30ml, www.cremedelamer.co.uk.

My favourite websites are DonlonBooks.com for art and photography books and AbeBooks.com for secondhand and first editions, where I spend more money than I’d like to admit. I also love to look at the Victoria & Albert Museum’s online archives. www.vam.ac.uk.

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