The Aesthete: Isabel Ettedgui talks personal taste

Isabel Ettedgui has revived heritage leather brand Connolly, relaunching the Mayfair store and adding clothing collections, homewares and art to its portfolio

Isabel Ettedgui at home in London
Isabel Ettedgui at home in London | Image: Dylan Thomas

My personal style signifier is an oversized shirt. I used to borrow my dad’s, then my boyfriend’s, then my husband Joe’s, and one of my first fashion pieces was a Vivienne Westwood pirate shirt. I’ve always liked shirts – in linen from a market in France or tailored pieces.

Alvaro leather sandals, £195
Alvaro leather sandals, £195

The last thing I bought and loved was a beautiful Senufo cloth – probably from the 1950s – which is now being framed at Soardi in Nice. It needs love and a genius to mount it. Avenue Desambrois 9, 06000 Nice (+334-9362 3203; espacesoardi.com).

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of custom-made flat sandals from Alvaro. I just want the simplest two-strap leather design. alvaro.ag

The centre of Tokyo
The centre of Tokyo

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Tokyo – and Kyoto. I’d never been to Japan and was blown away by the people, the warmth, the food and the culture – and the slight craziness. It’s so familiar, yet so foreign.

Tauer Incense Extreme, £105 for 50ml EDP.
Tauer Incense Extreme, £105 for 50ml EDP. | Image: Dylan Thomas

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a simple wooden crucifix from Patmos, handmade from local twigs. It was a gift that reminds me utterly of the giver – a very dear friend – and this beautiful island. I hang it in my bedroom and dream of spirits and sunny Greek escapes.

The studded Connolly trunk Ettedgui gave to a friend, £1,250
The studded Connolly trunk Ettedgui gave to a friend, £1,250

The beauty staple I’m never without is Incense Extreme by Tauer, which I have worn for a very long time. I love the smell of frankincense – I really couldn’t do without it. £105 for 50ml EDP, lessenteurs.com.

Ettedgui’s Breton top from Brittany
Ettedgui’s Breton top from Brittany | Image: Dylan Thomas

The last meal that truly impressed me was at the Paloma Beach restaurant in Cap Ferrat this summer, just before it was due to be dismantled by the local prefecture. We watched the sun set, drank really great rosé and ate delicious roasted fish. It was a magical place – just tables on a beach – that had been there for 70 years. 

Untitled, 2013,  by Lucas Arruda
Untitled, 2013, by Lucas Arruda

The last music I downloaded was a reggae playlist, Baila Reggaeton, that Felix Seymour [Anya Hindmarch’s son] found for me. I was born and spent my first 25 years in Africa, so those rhythms are in my blood.

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The best gift I’ve given recently was a small, handmade leather trunk studded with two love hearts; it was based on an old Portuguese design. I had it made for a friend’s wedding. £1,250; connollyengland.com.

And the best one I’ve received recently is an oversized mariner’s T-shirt with blue-black stripes that my friend gave to me in Brittany. I go to that part of the world so often and I am always looking for the perfect mariner’s top: this is it.  

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Brazilian painter Lucas Arruda. I first saw his work on Instagram, then went to an exhibition at David Zwirner. His landscapes and seascapes are extraordinary – each one is like a universe in one small picture. davidzwirner.com.

If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in is Paris. My daughter is living there and I love everything about it. There’s nothing quite like watching the chess players in the Jardin du Luxembourg and the amazing view of Les Invalides as you cross the Seine. Le Bristol is a favourite hotel: it’s the beautiful garden, the club sandwiches and Faraon, the cat‑in-residence. I love browsing in Charvet on Place Vendôme, and Sennelier, a really old art shop, which is great for gifts. And I always go to 21 on Rue Mazarine for fish and chips; Café de Flore for the French onion soup; and Le Duc on Boulevard Raspail for the best rum baba. 21, 21 Rue Mazarine, 75006 (+331-4633 7690). Café de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 (+331-4548 5526; cafedeflore.fr). Charvet, 28 Place Vendôme, 75001 (+331-4260 3070; charvet.com). Le Bristol, 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 (+331-5343 4300; lebristolparis.com). Le Duc, 243 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 (+331-4320 9630; restaurantleduc.com). Sennelier, 3 Quai Voltaire, 75007 (+331-4260 7215; magasinsennelier.net).

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