Jennifer Chamandi talks personal taste

The Lebanese-born shoe designer’s label launched in 2016 and is known for ultra-feminine designs with sharp lines and a distinctive through-heel strap

Jennifer Chamandi at home in London
Jennifer Chamandi at home in London | Image: Tina Hillier

My personal style signifier is a pair of narrow-ankle Tamara trousers by Stella McCartney. I have them in black, navy, white and a lovely nude pink like my shoe bags. I like her designs for their comfort and aesthetic – they are clean and minimal. She is a woman designing for women. £395; 23 Old Bond Street, London W1 (020-7518 3100; stellamccartney.com). 

Chamandi’s Pensato e Quadrato embroidery by Alighiero Boetti
Chamandi’s Pensato e Quadrato embroidery by Alighiero Boetti | Image: Tina Hillier

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Mira Mikati jacket embroidered with dreamlike phrases like “We fly fly fly”. Mikati’s personality – playful, fun and cool – is reflected in her entire collection. She is a working mother like me and I admire her accomplishments. £620; net-a-porter.com.

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is an Hermès Jypsière 28 micro bag in Rose Sakura – it would hold my laptop and the adjustable strap means I could wear it long and pick up my daughters at the same time. £5,820; 1 Cadogan Place, London SW1 (020-7823 1014; hermes.com).

Clockwise from left: Chamandi’s Mira Mikati jacket. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume. Hermès Jypsière 28 micro bag
Clockwise from left: Chamandi’s Mira Mikati jacket. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle perfume. Hermès Jypsière 28 micro bag | Image: Tina Hillier

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Alighiero Boetti, a 20th-century Italian conceptual artist. He was a key member of the arte povera movement and was known for his embroideries, such as a chessboard woven out of tracing paper and steel, or brightly coloured embroidery with sentences spelled out in squares so they look like equations. I have a small one (Pensato e Quadrato) but I’d love more.

Chamandi’s Montblanc Hommage à WA Mozart fountain pen
Chamandi’s Montblanc Hommage à WA Mozart fountain pen | Image: Tina Hillier

A recent “find” is Orient 499, a Beirut shop my mother introduced me to. It showcases regional handicraft, like beautiful wooden boxes with Arabic calligraphy. The work is traditional but the shapes are modern. It is a tribute to Lebanon’s sophisticated, multicultural heritage and great for gifts. 499 Omar Daouk Street, Mina El Hosn, Beirut (+9611-369 499; orient499.com).

Langoustine with shiso at Burgundy, in Beirut
Langoustine with shiso at Burgundy, in Beirut

The beauty staple I’m never without is Coco Mademoiselle perfume by Chanel. I love that it’s not too strong, yet other people notice it. I also depend on Cellular Eye Contour Cream by La Prairie now that I’m so sleep-deprived, and Natura Bissé Cure Sheer Eye is absolute magic. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, £116 for 100ml EDP (chanel.com). La Prairie Cellular Eye Contour Cream, £115 for 15ml (laprairie.co.uk). Natura Bissé Cure Sheer Eye, £102 for 15ml (spacenk.com).

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The one item of clothing I’ll keep to pass on is… actually it’s two, as I have identical twin girls. I thought of them when I bought two Dior leather jackets, one in navy and one in dusty pink. I convinced myself it was a good “investment” as I will be passing them on to my daughters. 

The best gift I’ve received recently is a small Montblanc Meisterstück Platinum Line Hommage à WA Mozart fountain pen from my mother-in-law. I love handwriting notes; it’s a courtesy we are in danger of losing and sending them is a discipline I enjoy. It’s also a physical pleasure with this little black pen, which is always with me. montblanc.com.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Burgundy, a gem of a restaurant in Beirut whose head chef, Youssef Akiki, had training from Alain Ducasse. The focus is on exquisite ingredients and on matching food to excellent wines. Our meal was light, delicious and had a Japanese influence: it included Ginza-inspired langoustine with shiso; Wagyu beef smoked on site using cedar wood; and hazelnut praline – all very finely judged. 752 Gouraud Street, Saifi Village, Beirut (+9611-999 820; burgundybeirut.com).

My favourite apps are Focus@Will – a mix of music and neuroscience to help tune out distractions and be more productive; Blinkist, which summarises books so you can decide if you want to read them properly; and Runtastic, which tracks your run by distance, time, speed and elevation. It pushes me to perform better.   

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