The Aesthete: Sophie Hulme talks personal taste

The designer’s eponymous accessories label centres on artfully composed, industrial-design-inspired handbags with instant-classic appeal

Sophie Hulme at home in London
Sophie Hulme at home in London | Image: Trent McMinn

My personal style signifier is my antique and vintage jewellery. I particularly like pieces that have a purpose and are beautiful in their functionality. I have charms of tiny gold pens made in the 1920s and a matchbox filled with miniature matches, but my favourite is a gold pendant with a tiny dictionary and a magnifying glass. Grays Antiques Centre in Mayfair is one of my favourite hunting grounds. 58 Davies St, London W1 (020-7629 7034;

Sophie Hulme's vintage matchbox and dictionary charm pendants
Sophie Hulme's vintage matchbox and dictionary charm pendants | Image: Trent McMinn

The last thing I bought and loved was a midcentury Swedish oak sideboard by Ilse Rix. It has sliding doors and a woven wood front, and its proportions are amazing. From about €3,200;


And the thing I’m eyeing next is a light wool, double-breasted suit from Connolly. A really great, beautifully cut and quite masculine suit looks so effortless but is hard to find. A friend of mine turned up in a Connolly suit the other day, and I thought, “That’s the one.” From £1,300;

Connolly crepe double-breasted suit jacket, £900
Connolly crepe double-breasted suit jacket, £900

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe is a Bella Freud off-white cotton-mix skirt with buttons up the front; it has a classic feel, with a high waist and a tortoiseshell belt buckle. I saw someone wearing it on Instagram and tracked it down. £490;

Marigot Bay on St Lucia in the Caribbean
Marigot Bay on St Lucia in the Caribbean | Image: 4Corners Images

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year was St Lucia. I’ve sailed across the Atlantic with my family, on our own boat, many times, and we often end up there. Arriving from the ocean, you see places from a very different perspective. Last year we moored between the pitons in a little bay and it was just breathtaking. The snorkelling is fantastic. 

Hulme's vintage Hudson's Bay blanket, found in an LA junk shop
Hulme's vintage Hudson's Bay blanket, found in an LA junk shop | Image: Trent McMinn

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a huge vintage Hudson’s Bay striped wool blanket that I found in a junk store in LA. It’s in great condition and I love the bright primary colours. New from $325;

Ryan Gander's The Self Righting of All Things at Lisson Gallery London
Ryan Gander's The Self Righting of All Things at Lisson Gallery London | Image: Ryan Gander; Courtesy Lisson Gallery

The beauty staple I’m never without is the Genius Bi-Phase Peel by Algenist – it’s algae-based skincare that leaves my skin very clear. £68; 


A recent “find” is Shreeji newsagents opposite the Chiltern Firehouse. This fabulous shop looks unassuming but has the most incredible selection of art and fashion magazines. I’ve been spending a lot of time there recently as we are opening a store on the street this month. 6 Chiltern St, London W1 (020-7935 5055; 

The best gift I’ve given recently was a set of knitted sushi to my assistant, Catherine Fellowes, a fan of all things Japanese. I commissioned it from Kate Jenkins, a knitwear and crochet artist. The fish eggs are beaded and the prawns are sequinned – it’s so clever. £2,000;

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Church Street in Marylebone, London. It’s always lively, and I love the mix of places and people. I’ve been going to Alfies Antique Market for so long, for furniture, clothes and jewellery. Across the street is Deborah Woolf Vintage, where I bought an incredible 1950s Fortnum & Mason blush lace skirt suit; there’s a massive archive at her appointment-only Church Street studio. I love the Lisson Gallery’s selection of artists, and Lebanese restaurant Maroush is great for a pitstop – the food is delicious. Alfies, 13-25 Church St, NW8 (020-7723 6066; Deborah Woolf, Lisson Gallery, 67 Lisson St, NW1 (020-7724 2739; Maroush, 21 Edgware Rd, W2 (020-7493 5050; 

An object I would never part with is a print from the German photographer Thomas Ruff’s Stars series. His work reminds me of sailing across the Atlantic under an amazing night sky. We wake up to it hanging at the foot of our bed.

My favourite websites and apps are, for clothes and accessories, and It’, a blog about creatives that is really good for discovering photographers and designers. I also like the Artsy app – my knowledge of the art world has expanded hugely since using it.

See also