The Aesthete: Christina Zeller talks more personal taste

The Delvaux artistic director continues her list of likes with the wit of Audrey Hepburn, the modern romance of Valentino and her Carlos Mata horse sculpture

Christina Zeller at home in Paris
Christina Zeller at home in Paris | Image: Magali Delporte

My style icon is Audrey Hepburn. She always looked so elegant yet modern, and her wit and intelligence were obvious – it sparkles through all her films.

In my fridge you’ll always find my favourite champagne, Ruinart; La Vache qui Rit cheese – I know it’s really for kids but I love it; smoked salmon, which goes well with the cheese; and fresh pasta – all the ingredients for a quick meal.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

An object I would never part with is a big bronze horse sculpture by Carlos Mata. It moves with me wherever I live and happens to look great in my house in Paris. I understand his work is worth far more than when I bought this piece, but I don’t plan on selling it. 

My favourite room in my house is the garden, which is like an outside room. I am very lucky to have a green space in the city. My late husband designed it, inspired by the Belgian landscape designer Jacques Wirtz – it’s mainly greenery with rounded, wave-like shapes. wirtznv.be.

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The item in my wardrobe I’ll keep to pass on is a long, all-sequin dress from the early-1980s. It’s by Karl Lagerfeld – I used to work with him – and has colourful patches in a Kazimir Malevich print. My daughter likes to pinch my clothes; she has worn it a few times and thinks she should have it, but I’ve lost weight recently and might be able to wear it again, so she will have to wait.

The last album I bought was The Wrong Kind of War by the French singer Imany. I love her voice – it’s strong and very individual, unlike so much music today.

Zeller’s bronze horse sculpture, designed by Carlos Matta
Zeller’s bronze horse sculpture, designed by Carlos Matta | Image: Magali Delporte

The best gift I’ve given recently was some eye drops, to an old man in the village in Lamu [off Kenya] where I have a house. He had a long-term problem that caused him great pain, but he couldn’t afford treatment. They have made a huge difference to his life.

And the best one I’ve received recently is a unique ring in bronze and pearls, designed by artist Nathalie Dmitrovic, which my present husband found at the Ibu Gallery in Paris. 166 Galerie de Valois, Jardins du Palais Royal, 75001 Paris (+331-4260 0641; ibugallery.fr).

The garden of Zeller’s house in Paris that was designed by her late husband
The garden of Zeller’s house in Paris that was designed by her late husband | Image: Magali Delporte

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Avenue Montaigne in Paris. I find it quieter and less crowded than Rue Saint-Honoré. I can go to all my favourite brands in a small space and be very quick, because I’ve done my research. My favourite is Céline: my contact there knows me well and calls me when something comes in that she thinks might suit me. I also like the modern romance of Valentino, the pure lines of Jil Sander and the quirkiness of Fendi, all in close proximity. Céline, 53 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4070 0703; celine.com). Fendi, 51 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4952 8452; fendi.com). Jil Sander, 56 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4495 0670; jilsander.com). Valentino, 17/19 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4723 6461; valentino.com).

The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is a wonderful wide choker of beads made by the Masai who have settled in Lamu, making jewellery for tourists. I asked them to make it wider and use soft nylon thread rather than metal, but I left the colours to them. 

Zeller’s bronze and pearl ring, designed by Nathalie Dmitrovic
Zeller’s bronze and pearl ring, designed by Nathalie Dmitrovic | Image: Magali Delporte

An indulgence I would never forgo is the time and effort it takes to look stylish. I am representing a stylish brand, and the least I can do is live up to it. And besides, I enjoy it.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a jewellery designer. I love stones and metal, and the idea of learning to work with them is thrilling – but it takes an extremely long time to master.

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