The Aesthete: Alessandra Rich talks more personal taste

The womenswear designer concludes her list of likes with yoga, the Veneto flatlands and vintage hosiery

Alessandra Rich at home in London with a Roy Lichtenstein poster in the background
Alessandra Rich at home in London with a Roy Lichtenstein poster in the background | Image: Portrait: Kate Martin. Poster: © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2016

My style icon is Diana Vreeland because of the jewellery, the red lips and the tea dresses she wore – altogether, she was an extraordinary woman.

An indulgence I would never forgo is yoga. When I go to Italy I do classes with my brother in the evening, rather than going out. He’s an architect but he’s also a qualified yoga teacher. It puts me on a completely different level mentally and makes me feel focused and strong – it really helps. I wish he could come to London.

Rich’s Polaroid Land Camera Model 250
Rich’s Polaroid Land Camera Model 250 | Image: Kate Martin

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the area around Mount Street in London, near where I live. There is Phillips if you want to see or buy some art and McQueens florist at Claridge’s – just to look at the displays is a delight. Then there’s Linda Farrow – I love her sunglasses – and the beautiful bags at Goyard. My neighbourhood is quite complete. We quite often go to Scott’s for dinner. My favourite thing to have is the oysters or the Cornish sole goujons. Goyard, 116 Mount St, W1 (020-7478 9900; www.goyard.com). Linda Farrow, 91 Mount St, W1 (020-7499 6336; www.lindafarrow.com). McQueens at Claridge’s, Brook St, W1 (020-7629 1508; www.mcqueens.co.uk). Phillips, 30 Berkeley Sq, W1 (020-7318 4010; www.phillips.com). Scott’s, 20 Mount St, W1 (020-7495 7309; www.scotts-restaurant.com).

The last thing I bought and loved was a thick gold chain necklace from Hardware – run by an American lady who sells vintage jewellery. It’s a little bit tacky, a little bit vulgar, which is exactly what I like. Wherever I go, from markets to antique shops, I buy vintage costume jewellery, particularly from the 1980s. Hardware Vintage Jewellery at Topshop, www.topshop.com.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is any photography by Wolfgang Tillmans – he does these pictures of clouds that I would love to have. www.tillmans.co.uk.

My favourite room in my house is the living room, which looks out over the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Mayfair. The church is lit up in the evening so you can see the stained glass – it’s quite a spectacular view. And in spring there is the most amazing cherry blossom on the trees in Mount Street Gardens.

Gold chain necklace from Hardware
Gold chain necklace from Hardware | Image: Kate Martin

The best gift I’ve received recently was an original Polaroid Land Camera Model 250 that Stephen bought for me. Apart from being an iconic film camera, the Land is wonderful because it slows you down; it connects you with real moments. The prints are often magical and always one of a kind and that serendipity is part of the charm.

The site that inspires me is the flatlands in Veneto where I come from – the Pianura Padana. You can see the Dolomites on the horizon and it’s so beautiful – you see all this green as the land stretches out and then the pink of the mountains, which are often covered in snow. This is probably where I feel most at home.

Trattoria Arlati in Milan
Trattoria Arlati in Milan

If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Milan, especially as we are currently turning an old studio space there into an apartment. I love the Fondazione Prada; when you walk in it’s like a dream, almost surreal. The Cimitero Monumentale di Milano – the city’s cemetery – is like being in an open-air museum because there are so many monuments. And Milan has so many wonderful places to eat, like Trattoria Arlati, where you have to knock on the door to get in – you can’t see inside the restaurant from outside. It’s very quirky but with typical Milanese trattoria food; I like the risotto Milanese with ossobucco. Cimitero Monumentale di Milano, Piazzale Cimitero Monumentale, 20154 (+3902-8844 1274).Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco 2, 20139 (+3902-5666 2612; www.fondazioneprada.org). Trattoria Arlati, Via Alberto Nota 47, 20126 (+3902-643 3327; www.trattoriaarlati.it).

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was some hosiery – I have a real fetish for tights and hold-ups and because I do the styling for my lookbooks I am always searching for them. I buy them everywhere I go, often from vintage shops where I can find hosiery from the 1960s and 1970s.

Rich’s style icon, Diana Vreeland
Rich’s style icon, Diana Vreeland | Image: Getty Images/Imagebroker.rm

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is probably the pictures I’ve taken. I’m not someone who likes to buy things to remind me of a place.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be doing anything that involved being surrounded by beautiful things – maybe a gardener or photographer. But I am so new to doing what I do now that I am still very excited about it.

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The last meal that truly impressed me was a dinner that Browns hosted for me at Harry’s Bar during London Fashion Week. It was quite something; when you entered it was like a magic box. The table was beautiful – full of flowers and candles on pale lavender tablecloths. And the food was amazing; I had sarde in saor, a classic Venetian dish of sardines with caramelised onions, pine nuts and raisins. 26 South Audley St, London W1 (020-7408 0844; www.harrysbar.co.uk).

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