The Aesthete: Dominique Lévy talks more personal taste

The art adviser, collector and dealer continues her list of likes with reflexology, flamenco and throwing clay

Dominique Lévy at home in New York
Dominique Lévy at home in New York | Image: Weston Wells

My style icon is Inès de la Fressange. I admire her elegant, feminine style – one that’s never too girly-girly. It’s a classic and simple look, yet bold at the same time. I also love the way she uses white shirts to great effect.

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Mnemba Island, off Zanzibar. It’s a tiny, secluded atoll with just 12 beachside bungalows and everything is very free-floating. I was surrounded by nothing but coral, dolphins and the sounds of the Indian Ocean – it made for the perfect romantic getaway. From $1,270 a night per person sharing; andbeyond.com.

Inès de la Fressange, Lévy’s style icon
Inès de la Fressange, Lévy’s style icon | Image: Getty Images for Chanel

The last music I downloaded was Niall Horan’s Slow Hands. I love all kinds of music – but never anything harsh – so I Shazamed this bluesy pop song, and it’s been a great addition to my Bach-heavy playlist.

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the 6th arrondissement in Paris. One of my favourite places is Shang Xia, a simple, almost Hermès-like boutique designed by the architect Kengo Kuma. They stock the most exquisite cashmere and lacquerware. Galerie Kreo is a must for contemporary art. I visit Cire Trudon for candles – I love the fresh green scent of the Pondicherry – and Buly 1803 for beautifully packaged grooming products and cosmetics. Buly 1803, 6 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 (buly1803.com). Cire Trudon Pondicherry candle, £70 at Liberty (libertylondon.com); Cire Trudon, 78 Rue de Seine, 75006 (trudon.com). Galerie Kreo, 31 Rue Dauphine, 75006 (galeriekreo.com). Shang Xia, 8 Rue des Sèvres, 75006 (shang-xia.com). 

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In my fridge you’ll always find fresh ginger. I think it’s the key to energy and vitality, and I put it in everything from my morning green juice to teas. I also always have almond milk on hand for my breakfast cereal.

The person I rely on for personal wellbeing is my hairstylist Idan at the Valery Joseph salon on Madison Avenue who is a unique stylist; he has a real eye and is a true creative. 1044 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075 (valeryjoseph.com). 

Slow Hands by Niall Horan
Slow Hands by Niall Horan

The book I’d recommend to a friend is John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara. The Irish poet- philosopher is so full of wisdom and I love that you can open this book and delve into it at any point. A few of the main takeaways are to really listen, to be wholehearted and the importance of friendship.

An object I would never part with is a light-string installation called Last Light by the artist Félix González Torres. I purchased it in the mid-1990s and it was one of the first pieces in my collection. I move it around my apartment frequently, but it always occupies a prominent place.

Cire Trudon Pondicherry candle, £70 at Liberty
Cire Trudon Pondicherry candle, £70 at Liberty

The beauty products I’m never without are Ambre Sultan perfume by Serge Lutens and some little artisanal herbal soaps that I buy in Mougins each summer. I don’t know the maker, but I buy enough of them every time I’m there so that they’ll last throughout the year. I even cut them into small pieces for travel. £110 for 50ml; sergelutens.com. 

The best gift I’ve received recently was a handwritten note from my son, Solal, who is eight. It reads simply, “I love you more than infinity,” and I treasure it.

Mont Sainte-Victoire by Cézanne
Mont Sainte-Victoire by Cézanne | Image: Corbis via Getty Images

If I didn’t live in New York, the city I would live in is Madrid. It has a “European elegance meets the Far East” vibe – very southern yet sophisticated at the same time, and I always feel at home there. From the El Greco room at the Prado Museum to walks in the Royal Botanical Gardens, there is beauty at every turn. The food is wonderful too: the tapas bars within the Mercado de San Miguel and the creative Restaurante Viridiana near the Parque de Retiro, which serves delicious gazpacho and grilled seafood in a warm setting. All of this, followed by flamenco at Casa Patas, makes it a very special city. Casa Patas, Calle Cañizares 10, 28012 (casapatas.com). Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel, 28005 (mercadodesanmiguel.es). Prado Museum, Paseo del Prado, 28014 (museodelprado.es). Restaurante Viridiana, Calle Juan de Mena 14, 28014 (restauranteviridiana.net). Royal Botanical Garden, Plaza de Murillo 2, 28014 (rjb.csic.es). 

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Paul Cézanne, specifically his later paintings. The freedom in the brushstrokes from his work of this period – and particularly in his landscapes – is powerful and a bit risqué at the same time.

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My favourite websites are primarily news ones and I’ll check the FT, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times before I go  to bed. And Artnet is an excellent resource for contemporary art. artnet.com.ft.com. nytimes.com. wsj.com. 

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a potter. I’ve always collected pottery, and about five years ago I started throwing clay myself. I feel like I’ve found my true passion.

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