The Aesthete: Alessandra Rich talks personal taste

The Italian-born designer launched her womenswear label in 2010 and has since built a starry following for her intricate, opulent eveningwear

Alessandra Rich
Alessandra Rich | Image: Kate Martin

My personal style signifiers are skinny black Flex jeans from Acne that I live in. I usually wear them with a T-shirt or a simple cashmere knit. I’ve had a stone cuff from Bottega Veneta for about seven years and wear that every day too. I go from this to an ankle-length dress – there is not much in-between. Flex jeans, £150;

An object I would never part with is my vintage gold Rolex made in 1977 – an Oyster Perpetual Day-Date President with a brown vignette-diamond dial. It was my husband Stephen’s, but when I saw it I put it on and I immediately removed two links so that it wouldn’t fit him any more. I’ve worn it ever since.

Rich’s vintage gold Rolex, made in 1977
Rich’s vintage gold Rolex, made in 1977 | Image: Kate Martin

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the tiny island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon. When I am working in Italy I often try to go on quick trips and love this place. All the little houses are super-colourful and, once the shops shut at 7pm, it’s like being back in the 1950s; it’s very cute and so uplifting.

The books on my bedside table are The Lover by Marguerite Duras and Moon: Nature and Culture by Edgar Williams, a small book that I discovered in Waterstones; I find the moon absolutely fascinating.


The people I rely on for wellbeing are Dr Jerome Malzac and his wife Dr Beatrice Cosi, both homeopathic doctors based in Milan. I have been seeing them regularly for the past three years – they are quite amazing. I also see their daughter Janelaure Malzac, who is an osteopath. In London I see nutritionist Tatiana Rodriguez. I am not super-strict with food but at some point you have to listen to your body’s needs. Tatiana Rodriguez,

A recent “find” is La Vecchia Latteria near the Duomo in Milan. A friend of mine had a dinner there. It’s a tiny vegetarian place with only a few tables, usually only open for lunch. Everything is so delicious, like a perfect pasta with ricotta and spinach. It’s really quite plain but this is exactly what I love about it. Via dell’Unione 6, Milan 20122.

The island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon
The island of Burano in the Venetian lagoon | Image: Alamy

The last music I downloaded was Max Richter’s Sleep album. It’s eight hours long and very relaxing; we play it in the studio.

The beauty staple I’m never without is Line A Eye Cream from Susanne Kaufmann and her herbal Whey Bath Milk, which is gorgeous. I don’t wear make-up but buy a lot of perfumes – it’s another of my obsessions – although I always wear the same one: Frédéric Malle’s Musc Ravageur. Susanne Kaufmann Line A Eye Cream, €193 for 15ml; Whey Bath Milk, €40 for 300g; Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, £160 for 100ml EDP;

Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, £160 for 100ml EDP
Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, £160 for 100ml EDP | Image: Kate Martin

The best gift I’ve given recently was a silk dressing gown from Olivia von Halle that I got for a friend in Italy. I think everybody should have one. It is a beautiful object.

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Alexander Calder. I love that his sculpture is not static, so that it moves and changes into something else – it’s never the same.

Marco Colzani C-Amaro chocolate selection, €28 for eight tablets
Marco Colzani C-Amaro chocolate selection, €28 for eight tablets

In my fridge you’ll always find C-Amaro chocolate from Marco Colzani, which is a super-niche brand based near Lake Como. It produces chocolate with its own cacao, as well as with fruit juices, jams and spreads. Then there will be white wine for my husband Stephen; Marmite, which I have on crumpets with butter, although I try to resist them; and almond butter, which I love on apples. Marco Colzani C-Amaro chocolate selection, €28 for eight tablets;


My favourite website is You put it on and you decide what sort of scenery you need to calm you down – a lake with the sound of the water lapping, for example. It’s very useful.

See also