The Aesthete: Melissa Morris talks personal taste

The founder of luxury leather brand Métier travels to a Kate Bush soundtrack, dreams of beaches in Big Sur and longs for an Aman hotel bed. Portrait by Sophia Spring

Melissa Morris at home in London
Melissa Morris at home in London | Image: Sophia Spring

My personal style signifier is my vintage Levi’s. I found them in San Francisco almost 15 years ago and they only get better with time. They go with everything I want to wear, no matter where I am going. I love pieces that age with you and show signs of the journey they’ve been on.levi.com.

The last thing I bought and loved was fragrant resin from Francisco Costa’s new beauty line, Costa Brazil. It has an aroma that’s rich and woodsy, but also clean. You burn it on a tile, like incense. It’s a ritual I’ve been doing in the evenings to calm down and relax. $145; livecostabrazil.com.

Her Métier Perriand Carry All
Her Métier Perriand Carry All | Image: Sophia Spring

My perfect travel soundtrack would have to include Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, because it makes me feel so free and positive; America by Simon & Garfunkel, because it’s about having an adventure; and Unity by Desmond Dekker, which I used to listen to on the drive to Lake Tahoe when I lived in San Francisco.

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a striped tunic from CristaSeya. It’s a Parisian label that only delivers new products every six months. The pieces look simple but they’re super-precise and drape over the body perfectly. Similar styles, from £607; cristaseya.co.

Advertisement

An unforgettable place I’ve been to in the past year is St Just in Cornwall, for a last-minute refresh at the end of summer. Everyone had talked about how special it was but I was still blown away. It was so wild and raw. Even though it was only a train ride away, it felt like a different world.

And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a set of little plates I found at a market on the Greek island of Folegandros. They have handpainted fish on them, and each is slightly different. I love to have friends over for dinner and these plates always make their way into the spread.

Dining at Dar Ahlam in Ouarzazate
Dining at Dar Ahlam in Ouarzazate

My style icon is Lauren Hutton. I love the way that she only wears jeans and a T-shirt but always looks so cool and effortless. You can’t help but turn your head.

The place that keeps drawing me back is the Pacific Coast Highway in California. From eating barbecued oysters in Bolinas to visiting the beaches of Big Sur, the area has a feeling of discovery and freedom.

Morris at home in London
Morris at home in London | Image: Sophia Spring

An object I would never part with is my vintage Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi. It was made for Pan Am pilots and was the first watch to tell two time zones with a simple turn of the bezel. It inspired my collection – something designed for a purpose but that isn’t too complex. rolex.com.

A travel indulgence I would never forgo is a hotel with a good bed. I am pretty adaptable, but I am not my best if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep. The Aman hotel in Tokyo has the best I’ve found so far. From £1,492; aman.com

Her Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi
Her Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi | Image: Sophia Spring

On my wish list is a work by Vivian Suter. My friend Silka Rittson-Thomas, an art adviser, introduced me to her work. She is based on a former coffee plantation in Guatemala and paints her surroundings on unstretched canvases, which are designed to be hung rather than framed. I love the vibrancy and organic quality of the work.

I never leave home without my Master & Dynamic MW50+ wireless headphones. On my way to work, I listen to podcasts because I find they prevent my mind from running through my to-do list a million times before I’ve sat down at my desk. On the way home, I listen to music to unwind. £319; masterdynamic.com.

Handpainted plates from Folegandros
Handpainted plates from Folegandros

And the podcast I’m listening to currently is How I Built This by NPR. It’s about entrepreneurs and the companies they’ve made. It can often feel lonely and scary to chart a new path and to be responsible for so much, so listening to other people’s stories has been helpful. It’s a reminder that there is no straight and narrow route to success.

The hotel that blew me away was Domaine de Murtoli in the south of Corsica. It’s unlike anywhere I have ever been. They have cottages dotted in the hills along the coast; you’re five to 10 minutes’ drive from your nearest neighbour. Every morning someone delivers a fresh baguette, fruit, fromage blanc and chestnut jam to the doorstep. From €170; murtoli.com.

Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe
Reckless Daughter by David Yaffe

The last meal that impressed me was at Dar Ahlam in Ouarzazate, set between Morocco’s stretch of the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains. Each time you dine, your table is set in a new place within the property and each course is a surprise. darahlam.com.

My in-flight essentials are my Métier Perriand Carry All – I designed it for myself, so it has everything I need: a hidden compartment for boarding passes, passport and phone; pockets to keep things organised; and it’s light and easy to carry. I have a cashmere shawl large enough to act as a blanket. And my sketchbook and pencil case. It’s easy to solve problems through design when you’re in the moment. From £2,280; metierlondon.com.

St Just in Cornwall
St Just in Cornwall | Image: Alamy

Next on my travel bucket list are the Faroe Islands and Punta Mita in Mexico. I’m also going truffle hunting in Provence in November – it’s such a thrill to go through a forest and learn about such a specialised process.

The last music I downloaded was Trans‑Europe Express by Kraftwerk. I lived in Berlin for three and a half years before moving to London, and this album reminds me of a city that’s very close to my heart.

Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk
Trans-Europe Express by Kraftwerk

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Ostermalm in Stockholm. Dusty Deco has amazing midcentury furniture and Acne’s flagship store is a must-visit if you’re in Sweden. There are plenty of amazing restaurants and cafés: PA & Co is great for a casual dinner, Café Saturnus has the best cardamom buns and Sturehof is a seafood institution. acnestudios.com. cafesaturnus.se. dustydeco.com. PA & Co, +468-611 0845. sturehof.com.

My favourite app is Virgin Atlantic. I know it sounds very George Clooney in Up in the Air, but figuring out the best seat or how many miles I’m flying is an obsession. 

Master & Dynamic MW50+ headphones
Master & Dynamic MW50+ headphones

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. She’s very strong-minded and was uncompromising in her art. I seem to be on a tear of stories of successful women, from Michelle Obama to Patti Smith.

My failsafe jet-lag cure is unpacking immediately once I arrive. If I feel organised, it calms me down. 

Advertisement

The best gift I’ve given recently was a weekend getaway to my mum. We went to Bruton in Somerset, where we visited Hauser & Wirth. Spending time together is important for us and it’s something we have maintained despite living in different parts of the world.hauserwirth.com.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would open a café. It would serve French-Moroccan cuisine with live music, like a modern-day combination of Rick’s Café in Casablanca, and Café Gitane, my favourite place in New York. It’s a dream that I hope to realise one day.

See also

Advertisement
Loading