The Aesthete: Gabriela Hearst talks more personal taste

The fashion designer concludes her list of likes with the music of Jack White, life in Madrid and the mystical art of Hieronymos Bosch

Gabriela Hearst at home in New York
Gabriela Hearst at home in New York | Image: Weston Wells

My style icon is my friend and muse Stephanie de Lavalette, who used to be my housemate and now works with me. She’s French and has superb natural style, but it’s not the clothes – more the way she wears them. As well as being beautiful she is warm, approachable and kind, and you can see that from the way she looks. Real style is about how you treat others.

An accessory I would never part with is a beautiful, heavy gold chain made for me by JAR to put my charms on. My mother had five of them made from old gold coins melted down by a local jeweller in Uruguay (she believes this gives a better energy); one is from my best friend; and there’s my grandmother’s medallion and a spherical locket with six pictures of my family. It makes me feel protected. 7 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris (+331-4296 3366).  

Hearst’s collection of charms on a gold chain by Jar
Hearst’s collection of charms on a gold chain by Jar | Image: Weston Wells

The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are my yoga instructor Ivy Askew and my acupuncturist Rebecca Krauss, whom I see weekly. I’m not big on exercise – I tried a personal trainer and it wasn’t for me – but Ivy’s approach is about relaxing tension; it works, so I look forward to it. beccakrauss.com. ivyaskewyoga.com.  

The best gift I’ve given recently was a Roman coin from AD 138 with a profile of the emperor Hadrian to my five-year-old godson, who is also Hadrian. I feel it will bring him good luck.

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The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Hieronymus Bosch. I find The Garden of Earthly Delights weird and mystical and there is so much going on – it’s such a record of beliefs at that time. You can blow it up online and see every detail; it’s no wonder it took years to complete. 

If I didn’t live in New York, the city I would live in is Madrid. When I’m wandering around looking at the architecture, I always fantasise about living there. It’s a bit like Paris but quieter and with a better lifestyle. My favourite places are the Prado – I can at least look at Bosch’s work, even though I can’t own it; Retiro Park, with its memories of the city’s grand royal past; and Ekseption, a very cool, well-curated, high-end fashion and lifestyle store. Horcher is an opulent, old-school and comfortable restaurant, which serves excellent traditional game dishes. I also like El Corte Inglés, the classic department store that sells everything, but also has a gastronomic top floor where the food competes with the views. Ekseption, Calle de Velázquez 28, 28001 (+3491-577 4353; ekseption.es). El Corte Inglés, Plaza del Callao 2, 28013 (+3491-379-8000; elcorteingles.com). El Parque del Buen Retiro, Plaza de la Independencia 7, 28001 (+3491-400 8740; esmadrid.com). Museo del Prado, Calle Ruiz de Alarcón 23, 28014 (+3491-330 2800; museodelprado.es). Restaurante Horcher, Calle de Alfonso XII 6, 28014 (+3491-522 0731; restaurantehorcher.com). 

The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch
The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson, who has also written about Einstein and Steve Jobs – he likes original thinkers. It’s made me realise that while no one has been as multitalented and forward-thinking as Leonardo, he was human too – with many faults. It’s very motivating and there is so much to take from it.

The last music I downloaded was Connected by Love by Jack White from his new album Boarding House Reach. I rarely find a new song that blows me away – my musical taste is usually nostalgic – but I think he’s one of the best musicians in the US right now and getting better all the time.

Hearst’s bathroom in her New York home
Hearst’s bathroom in her New York home | Image: Weston Wells

In my fridge you’ll always find homemade frittata; yogurt – preferably White Moustache, which is Persian and totally delicious; and lots of fruit. I can’t be totally casual about food as I have three children and a stepson ranging in age from three to 22, but that’s the basics of a complete snack for anyone. whitemoustache.com.

My favourite room in my house in New York is the bathroom: it sold the property to me. The previous owner installed a bathtub made from a single piece of marble, and as the centrepiece of a plain white room it is so beautiful. I find it meditative and relaxing. 

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An indulgence I would never forgo is dark chocolate. I’ve given up lots of things to be healthy, including coffee, but not this, and even my nutritionist is relaxed about it. My favourite is Pierre Marcolini’s; I can’t get it in the States so I stock up when I’m in Europe. eu.marcolini.com.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be involved in film production. I love the idea of storytelling in a visual way. But in reality, I do have an alternative career already, as I run my family’s ranch in Uruguay.

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