The Aesthete: Valérie Messika talks more personal taste

The Paris-based jewellery designer concludes her list of likes with Kate Moss, the Marais and the work of Giacometti

Valérie Messika at home in Paris
Valérie Messika at home in Paris

My style icon is Kate Moss. I have a painting of her by Peter Klasen in my office; my cousin Didier bought it for me at Galerie Laurent Strouk. What I like so much is that she is a real chameleon – she can be sexy and feline as well as natural; she’s strong, cool and chic at the same time. I’m fascinated by the way she captures the light and have many photographs of her by great names such as Lindbergh, Demarchelier and Testino. She’s always present in my subconscious as a creative spirit, a symbol of modernity and femininity. 2 Ave Matignon, 75008 Paris (+331-4046 8906; www.laurentstrouk.com).

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the desert around Dubai. My husband and I rented a car and drove into the desert – it was the middle of nowhere. You see nothing but colour and light, there are different sounds and sensations, and the landscape is so minimalist it makes your life seem small. We stayed at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi and slept in a tented villa. www.ritzcarlton.com.

Messika’s Philippe Starck lamp from Baccarat
Messika’s Philippe Starck lamp from Baccarat | Image: Stephanie Jayet

My favourite room in my house is my bedroom – it’s the one place I can truly relax. The decor is very modern, in white and purple, with my prized Philippe Starck lamp that I bought from Baccarat and a sculpture by Nathalie Decoster, which is very Giacometti-inspired. The bedroom has a fabulous view of the Eiffel Tower – it’s one of the reasons I fell for this flat. Baccarat, 79 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris (+331-4265 3626; www.baccarat.com). www.nathaliedecoster.com.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the Marais in Paris. It’s so typically French, full of small, individual shops – and it’s open on Sundays. I head to Leclaireur for brands such as Saint Laurent or Balenciaga; Diptyque for its Feu de Bois candles; and MAC for eyeliner and lipstick that lasts all day. Bonton is a really lovely children’s boutique, and I like to browse in Merci, a concept store selling a mix of fashion and lifestyle. And I can’t resist Isabel Marant’s shoes. Bonton, 5 Blvd des Filles du Calvaire, 75003 (+331-4272 3469; www.bonton.fr). Diptyque, 8 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 (+331-4804 9557; www.diptyqueparis.co.uk). Isabel Marant, 47 Rue de Saintonge, 75003 (+331-4278 1924; www.isabelmarant.com). Leclaireur, 40 Rue de Sévigné, 75003 (+331-4887 1022; www.leclaireur.com). MAC, 32 Rue de Sévigné, 75004 (www.maccosmetics.co.uk). Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003 (+331-4277 0033; www.merci-merci.com). 

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The best gift I’ve received recently was a surprise night in Paris from my husband. We started in a private dining room at Le Meurice hotel, which I love for its Alain Ducasse two-Michelin-star restaurant. Jean-Baptiste filled the room with 200 pink Sweet Avalanche roses – I couldn’t see the floor – and then he proposed, with a 2.5ct cushion-cut diamond. We finished the night in a suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Mandarin Oriental, 251 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 (+331-7098 7888; www.mandarinoriental.com). Le Meurice, 228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 (+331-4458 1010; www.dorchestercollection.com). 

And the best gift I’ve given was a wall of framed photographs, last Christmas, to my husband. I wanted to give him something handmade, so I printed out several pictures that mark important times in our life together – when I was pregnant, at the Cannes Film Festival, with our two daughters – and arranged them over one wall in our Paris apartment. He had a huge surprise as he walked in the door. It was my way of expressing how happy I am to share my life with him.

The Diptyque boutique in Paris
The Diptyque boutique in Paris | Image: Andrieu Géraldine

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Giacometti – specifically L’Homme qui marche, which is so precise but poetic. I’m touched by Giacometti’s strong yet delicate style, and the way his long-limbed, quasi-abstract sculptures invite reflection and interpretation. For me, this piece is an expression of hope. I always try to catch exhibitions of his work. 

An indulgence I would never forgo is escaping regularly to La Co(o)rniche, a cosy, romantic hotel near Arcachon on the Atlantic coast. It’s designed by Philippe Starck with his usual wit, but is not too modernist – it has real soul. It’s situated on a hill and the view over the ocean is amazing. Even better, a few years ago they added a spa. 46 Ave Louis Gaume, 33115 Pyla-sur-Mer (+335-5622 7211; www.lacoorniche-pyla.com). 

The Alain Ducasse restaurant at Le Meurice, Paris
The Alain Ducasse restaurant at Le Meurice, Paris

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a black Saint Laurent cape that I found in a sale at Montaigne Market. It’s casual and chic at the same time; I can wear it with jeans or with an evening dress. £1,880; 57 Ave Montaigne, 75008 Paris (+331-4256 5858; www.montaignemarket.com). 

The person I rely on for wellbeing is Raphael Doub, my personal trainer. As a busy working mother, if I don’t have a trainer I do absolutely nothing. I met Raphael two years ago, soon after my second daughter was born, when I wasn’t in good shape. With his programme of jogging and swimming twice a week, he changed something fundamental in me, and now I can run for an hour and 20 minutes. www.raphaeldoub.com.

Messika’s Saint Laurent cape from Montaigne Market, £1,880
Messika’s Saint Laurent cape from Montaigne Market, £1,880 | Image: Stephanie Jayet

The beauty staple I’m never without is my MAC black liner, which I always use to outline my eyes, even when I’m tired. Perfume is important to me and I’ve worn Eau d’Orange Verte by Hermès for many years. www.hermes.com. www.maccosmetics.co.uk

If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is New York. I love the energy, the people are friendly and it has the dynamism I want for my business. And the food is so good. You find the best chocolate cookies at Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side, and The Mercer Kitchen is great for delicious, fresh appetisers. I love the risotto at Cipriani in SoHo, and at night, the rooftop bar at The Standard hotel is a wonderful place to look out at the city lights. Then, at weekends, there are beautiful places to go outside the city, like The Hamptons. Cipriani, 376 W Broadway, 10012 (+1212-343 0999; www.cipriani.com). Levain Bakery, 167 W 74th St, 10023 (+1212-874 6080; www.levainbakery.com). The Mercer Kitchen, 99 Prince St, 10012 (+1212-966 5454; www.themercerkitchen.com). Top of The Standard, 848 Washington St, 10014 (+1212-645 7600; www.standardhotels.com).

Beach loungers at Hôtel La Co(o)rniche, Pyla-sur-Mer
Beach loungers at Hôtel La Co(o)rniche, Pyla-sur-Mer | Image: Vincent Bengold

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would have my own advertising agency. I studied marketing and communications at the Sorbonne, and I love transforming an idea into images and film. The whole process of creating and developing a new brand is very exciting.  

  

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