The Aesthete: Polly Morgan talks more personal taste

The artist rounds up her list of likes with Phoebe Philo’s effortless cool, Versace baby clothes and Rawduck

Polly Morgan at home in London
Polly Morgan at home in London | Image: Jake Curtis

My style icon is Phoebe Philo. If I see a picture of her, I stop and try to work out how she’s put her outfit together. I love her effortless cool and androgyny. It helps that she’s very beautiful, but she’s just got it. I love the clothes she designs for Céline too.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a pair of salmon-pink cotton Miu Miu flares with a dark pyjama-like piping. That 1970s look can be very flattering and they’re a great fit. I wear them with a pair of Miu Miu pink velvet platforms. miumiu.com.

The vintage Rolex watch Morgan bought for her boyfriend
The vintage Rolex watch Morgan bought for her boyfriend | Image: Jake Curtis

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is “sushi” socks from Japan. The Benesse House museum sells a huge selection, all really well made. Some feature simple Japanese art, others are more gimmicky and silly. benesse-artsite.jp.

In my fridge you’ll always find cheese. I worked at the Oxford Cheese Company in the city’s covered market on Saturdays when I was 15 and it taught me an appreciation for it. So you’ll always find a hard ewe’s-milk cheese – I love the sweet, nutty taste – and usually a soft, runny cheese and a blue cheese. 50 Market Street, Oxford OX1 3DU (01865-721 420; oxfordcheese.co.uk).

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The best gift I’ve given recently was a vintage Rolex that I bought for my boyfriend Mat for his 50th birthday. Usually I’d get him an artwork or a cool print, but a watch seemed really special. My friend Kim Hersov recommended a dealer at an antiques gallery called Silver Fox. I fell for this 1950s watch with a black face and gold numerals; most of the others had white faces, so it stood out, and the dealer swapped the link chain for a black leather strap. It is elegant and discreet. 121 Portobello Road, London W11.

And the best one I’ve received recently is a blue Versace babygrow. When I was pregnant last year I’d joked we were going to dress our baby top-to-toe in designer clothes, so Mat bought it to be funny – but it was also poignant. After years of yearning, I was finally pregnant with our son Clifford, and the item I had fantasised about buying many times is a reminder of the struggle we went through. About £95; versace.com.

Céline’s Phoebe Philo
Céline’s Phoebe Philo | Image: Getty Images

The book I’m reading is First Bite: How We Learn to Eat by Bee Wilson. It explores our relationships with food and asks whether we are born with certain aversions or if we learn them. It’s about opening the mind – especially a child’s mind – to new flavours. 

The beauty staples I’m never without are Sisley handcream, which is quite rich; my hands get dry as I use chemicals in my work. And my Ted Lapidus fragrance, Creation. My father bought some for my mother when we were small, and when the bottle ran out we could never find it again. She’s moved on now – new husband, new scent – but still keeps the empty bottle on her dressing table. I came across it again long after and have ended up wearing it myself. It’s incredibly evocative. Sisley Confort Extrême Handcream, £62 for 75ml; sisley-paris.com. Ted Lapidus Creation, £27.13 for 100ml EDT; amazon.co.uk.

Morgan’s cotton Miu Miu flares
Morgan’s cotton Miu Miu flares | Image: Jake Curtis

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Rawduck, near London Fields, which attracts a creative crowd. The co-owner, Clare Lattin, has a wonderful eye for design, combining pieces from her travels with a modern concrete bar designed by Seng Watson. I love the organic wines, and the experimental menu based on Mediterranean flavours is incredible. We loved the Calvados camembert, the cured fish and the salted ricotta with fennel and pistachio. There’s also a daily assortment of ferments and pickles – very much my kind of thing. 197 Richmond Road, London E8 (020-8986 6534; rawduckhackney.co.uk).

The last music I streamed was some 1980s pop. I only listen to music if I’ve had a few drinks and I want to dance. I love Roxy Music, David Bowie, Dire Straits: the stuff my dad used to listen to. The rest of the time I listen to Radio 4, even when I go running. I love programmes like Moral Maze and The Life Scientific – I’m not very hip. 

Low by David Bowie
Low by David Bowie | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

An indulgence I would never forgo is evenings in. I’ll cook something nice and we’ll watch a documentary or box set. We’ve just finished The People vs OJ Simpson, which was compelling. I prefer real life to fiction; I want to learn something.

My favourite room in my house is the bedroom, a real retreat. We invested in a great mattress and the first thing I think about when I arrive home is getting into bed with my laptop and answering emails. The dogs pile in too; I love it.

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If I weren’t an artist, I would be an architect. I’ve always had an interest in form and shape – as a teenager my bedroom was very eccentric, with its collection of handblown glass and a big triangle of colour painted on one wall – and I’m always taking pictures of buildings I like. But I’m very slapdash, so I’m not sure I’d have been a very good one.

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