The Aesthete: Olivia Chantecaille talks more personal taste

The creative director of Chantecaille concludes her list of likes with Lee Radziwill, Los Angeles and organic dark chocolate

Olivia Chantecaille at home in New York
Olivia Chantecaille at home in New York | Image: Weston Wells

My style icon is Lee Radziwill, the sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. She is fabulous inside and out: always impeccably dressed, so chic and elegant, and incredibly kind.

An object I would never part with is a picture of me by one of my favourite artists, Will Cotton. My husband gave me a sitting with him, and he created a very realistic portrait of me with a beautiful white meringue on my head. From £150,000; willcotton.com. 

Will Cotton’s portait of Olivia Chantecaille
Will Cotton’s portait of Olivia Chantecaille | Image: Weston Wells

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Say Bonjour to the Lady: Parenting from Paris to New York by Florence Mars and Pauline Lévêque – a look at the different ways that parents raise their kids in these two cities. It is laugh-out-loud funny. 

A recent “find” is De Maria, chef Camille Becerra’s new bistro in Nolita, Manhattan. The food is fresh, clean and beautiful and matches the airy interior, which is all pale wood and natural light. The breakfast is exceptional: avocado, lavender-cured salmon and honeyed egg on artisanal toast; homemade tahini yoghurt with apricot and sumac; and banana bread with flaxseed, coconut and ginger. 19 Kenmare Street, New York, NY 10012 (+1212-966 3058; demarianyc.com).

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An indulgence I would never forgo is Hu Fairtrade Organic Dark Chocolate. The almond butter and puffed-quinoa bar is a necessary afternoon pick-me-up. $59.99 for a pack of 12; hukitchen.com.

If I didn’t live in New York, the city I would live in is Los Angeles, because the weather is so compelling – and living near the water and being able to hike and go to the beach every day would be lovely. I am particularly partial to Brentwood, and the Brentwood Country Mart is a good spot for great shops and restaurants including Farmshop, where I particularly like having lunch. LACMA, The Broad and The J Paul Getty Museum are all exciting now; and some of my favourite restaurants – including Lucques, AOC, Crossroads and The Little Door – can be found here. AOC, 8700 West 3rd Street, 90048 (+1310-859 9859; aocwinebar.com). Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th Street, 90402 (+1310-458 6682; brentwoodcountrymart.com). The Broad, 221 South Grand Avenue, 90012 (+1213-232 6200; thebroad.org). Crossroads, 8284 Melrose Avenue, 90046 (+1323-782 9245; crossroadskitchen.com). Farmshop, Brentwood Country Mart, 225 26th Street #25, 90402 (+1310-566 2400; farmshopca.com). The J Paul Getty Museum, 1200 Getty Center Drive, 90049 (+1310-440 7300; getty.edu/museum). LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, 90036 (+1323-857 6000; lacma.org). The Little Door, 8164 West 3rd Street, 90048 (+1323-951 1210; thelittledoor.com). Lucques, 8474 Melrose Avenue, 90046 (+1323-655 6277; lucques.com). 

The breakfast avocado, lavender-cured salmon and honey egg on toast served at De Maria bistro in New York
The breakfast avocado, lavender-cured salmon and honey egg on toast served at De Maria bistro in New York | Image: Nicole Franzen

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a pair of regal lion sculptures that we bought on our honeymoon safari in South Africa. They remind me of a special time, and now sit flanking our front door. 

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Cy Twombly. His work is expressive and unrestrained; it really resonates with me. I particularly like how his paintings, such as the Four Seasons cycle, convey different moods. 

The lion sculptures Olivia Chantecaille brought home from her honeymoon in South Africa
The lion sculptures Olivia Chantecaille brought home from her honeymoon in South Africa | Image: Weston Wells

The beauty staples I’m never without include our Future Skin Foundation in a light vanilla shade. As soon as I put this on in the morning, I am ready to face the world. I also rely on my Mason Pearson hairbrush – in pink, so that I can find it at the bottom of my bag – and my mother-of-pearl Alexandre de Paris barrettes. Alexandre de Paris barrettes, from $51; alexandredeparisnyc.com. Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation, $78 for 1fl oz; chantecaille.com. Mason Pearson hairbrush, from $46; masonpearson.com.

The last music I downloaded was a children’s album, but I also indulge in chill songs for myself, including Ed Sheeran’s album Divide

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation, $78 for 1fl oz
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation, $78 for 1fl oz

My favourite room in the house is my bedroom, which I find incredibly soothing. It’s white and serene, with floor-to-ceiling windows, a thick carpet, stacks of books and a bedside table full of rose water and essential oils. But the centrepiece is the bed: a white upholstered headboard with an eco-friendly mattress. Cisco Savasana bed, from $3,495; abchome.com.

In my fridge you’ll always find almond milk, coconut water, organic yoghurt – Anita’s or Stonyfield – as well as freshly ground coffee for my husband. We always have raspberries and strawberries, Parmesan and red wines from Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, a vineyard once owned by our family. anitas.co. les-carmes-haut-brion.com. stonyfield.com

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If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a jewellery designer. Each piece tells a story, and I am intrigued by the creative possibilities of colourful stones. I would also love to be a children’s party planner because I like bringing festive elements – decorations, food and gifts – together.

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