The Aesthete: Alex Eagle talks more personal taste

The creative director continues her list of likes with Frédéric Malle perfume, David Hockney and Marylebone High Street

Alex Eagle at home in London
Alex Eagle at home in London | Image: Rick Pushinsky

My style icon is Amelia Earhart. Of course, it’s her look: the tall lankiness and the gamine haircut – so chic, and something I could never pull off. But more than that, it is that she had such elegance, such self-assuredness. She was a powerful woman – not by being a feminist in any overt way, but simply by doing what she wanted. 

An object I would never part with is an antique malachite jewellery box my husband gave me for my birthday. It’s not ornate at all, but quite extravagant-feeling because it’s made entirely of malachite. Anything that’s sentimental goes in there; it’s a perfect by-your-bed piece.

The beach at Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, Tuscany
The beach at Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, Tuscany

My favourite room in my house is the kitchen area. I live in a loft in Soho, so it’s all like one large room, but we have a beautiful kitchen by Plain English with a big island. It’s where I hang out, work, entertain, cook, play with my son and listen to music. I love the light and space that comes with living laterally; to me it’s a luxury. plainenglishdesign.co.uk.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Porto Ercole, on the Monte Argentario peninsula in Grosseto. I stayed at Il Pellicano: it’s a totally idyllic setting – you have those classic rolling hills of Tuscany to one side and the incredible blue Mediterranean sea on the other. But beyond that, the sense of ancient history on the peninsula is very powerful and tangible; it’s an intense, quite weighted place. And the sunrises are spectacular. Rooms from €414; pellicanohotels.com.

Advertisement

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a mismatched set of 17th-century hand-blown champagne flutes from a tiny antiques dealer in Venice. They’re so over the top as to be almost wrong, but I love them for that. You can imagine how bright and ostentatious – and possibly vile – they’d have been when they were made, but over so many years the tones have faded, and they’re passively coloured now. All I need is those on my table to make the whole night. 

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Hockney. His palette is vibrant and fun – it’s so broad that you’d never get tired of it, and there’s nostalgia wrapped up in it. His work doesn’t ask anything of you, it just makes you happy. I’ve grown up surrounded by his imagery and he’s stayed prominent; he’s never stopped creating.

Eagle’s 17th-century Venetian champagne flutes
Eagle’s 17th-century Venetian champagne flutes | Image: Rick Pushinksy

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism by Mary Dearborn. That era Guggenheim lived in, of Duchamp, Man Ray, Dalí – they’re all people who’ve fascinated me since I was young. She was an autodidact; it wasn’t just about her wealth, she had a genuine eye for things. Yes, she was a bit of a chancer, but she cut her own swathe through life and brought such interesting people together. 

The last music I downloaded was the La La Land soundtrack. I loved the film: it’s cheerful. I haven’t downloaded a soundtrack in years, but this one just makes me feel happy.

Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism by Mary Dearborn
Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism by Mary Dearborn

In my fridge you’ll always find an organic chicken – my husband is crazy about buying them from the farmers’ market – and vegetables, eggs and almond milk. And never much more.

The beauty staple I’m never without is Frédéric Malle’s Portrait of a Lady; I’ve worn it so much and for so long I almost can’t smell it any more. It’s quite fresh, not too feminine. I get so many compliments, and it wafts nicely out of my luggage when I open it. £230 for 100ml EDP; libertylondon.com.

La Fromagerie in Marylebone
La Fromagerie in Marylebone

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Marylebone in London. I live in Soho, which is pretty gritty, so sashaying up Marylebone High Street is a bit like a quick trip to Paris for me. You can do chores in an incredibly pleasant way. It’s a bit chichi, but it still feels authentic. I go on Sundays for the farmers’ market. We get Windrush Valley goat’s cheese and cheesecake; there’s a guy who sells oysters; and you can get cut flowers too. We get coffee and more cheese at La Fromagerie, and sweets at Rococo Chocolates and Pierre Marcolini. I can’t not stop in Daunt Books, one of London’s finest, and there’s Bonpoint for amazing children’s clothes – and Cologne & Cotton, which has lovely bedlinen. And I can spend hours and hours in The Conran Shop. Bonpoint, 52-54 Marylebone High Street (020-7487 2512; bonpoint.com). Cologne & Cotton, 88 Marylebone High Street (020-7486 0595; cologneandcotton.com). The Conran Shop, 55 Marylebone High Street (020-7723 2223; conranshop.co.uk). Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street (020-7224 2295; dauntbooks.co.uk). La Fromagerie, 2-6 Moxon Street (020-7935 0341; lafromagerie.co.uk). Marylebone Farmers’ Market, Cramer Street car park (lfm.org.uk). Pierre Marcolini, 37 Marylebone High Street (020-7486 7196; marcolini.com). Rococo Chocolates, 3 Moxon Street (020-7935 7780; rococochocolates.com).

The people I rely on for beauty and wellbeing are Esther Lim for private yoga and the wonderful Josh Wood for hair colour. When I come out of a class with Esther I’m so stretched out and refreshed I feel amazing. Although she pushes me, she makes it such fun that the class goes in a flash. Josh is the best colourist on earth: he will never let me do anything that doesn’t look totally natural, however desperate I am for a change. Once in a while he is very strict with me, but I trust him totally. From £80; Esther Lim, estherlim@me.com. From £55; Josh Wood Atelier, 6 Lansdowne Mews, London W1 (020-3393 0977; joshwoodcolour.com).

Advertisement

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would have loved to be a photographer. From when I was very little I was interested in it; my dad taught me how to use a proper Canon. I always wanted to capture, and sometimes own, things that were beautiful, or that I loved. It was the idea of curation, I realise in hindsight – of putting things together, doing it your own way, framing it yourself. Also, you didn’t have to buy something to own it; you could create a way for it to belong to you, to treasure things that are beautiful in the way you – perhaps only you – see them. 

Advertisement
Loading