The Aesthete: Lauren Gurvich King talks personal taste

The head of Café Wolseley’s retail sector is mad for Murano glass, Rome’s oldest chocolate makers and a vintage Mercedes Benz named Gertrude

Lauren Gurvich King at home in London
Lauren Gurvich King at home in London | Image: Rick Pushinsky

My personal style signifiers are blazers, chunky heels and statement rings. I love a blazer with sharp shoulders and a nipped waist – Balmain’s longer versions are my favourites – and am a big fan of sandals by Prada, which has the best heel heights. Once I could prance around in ultra-high heels, but I’ve finally become a tad more sensible. My wedding and engagement rings and my mother’s diamond and citrine ’60s cocktail ring are my classics, and always on.

Gurvich King’s Diane Kordas onyx rosary
Gurvich King’s Diane Kordas onyx rosary | Image: Rick Pushinsky

The last thing I bought and loved was a Diane Kordas black onyx, rose-gold and diamond rosary. It’s perfect for everyday and wonderful for layering. Diane is a fantastic jeweller – her pieces are unique and interesting. Black onyx cross rosary necklace, £2,627;


An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Lanserhof Clinic in Lans, Austria. Having never been to a full-detox medical clinic, I didn’t realise what I was in for, but after nine days of fasting, unusual treatments and the most beautiful scenery in the Tyrolean mountains, I was hooked. I came back better, stronger, healthier and clearer.

The Lanserhof Clinic, Austria
The Lanserhof Clinic, Austria

An object I would never part with is my car, a navy 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL with palomino leather, purchased in LA in 2006 and brought to London 10 years ago. I named her Gertrude – a fitting name for a strong German woman, which she is! She’s a classic beauty.

Gurvich King’s 1988 Mercedes-Benz
Gurvich King’s 1988 Mercedes-Benz | Image: Rick Pushinsky

The best gift I’ve received is a 1940s men’s gold Rolex with a brown crocodile band, which was a gift from my husband. It’s inscribed “To My Queen” and I love it – a very unique watch with a very special sentiment.

Gurvich King’s gold 1940s Rolex
Gurvich King’s gold 1940s Rolex | Image: Rick Pushinsky

My favourite room in my house is my living room. It contains my book collection – most of it, anyway – and my cherished ’60s-’70s Murano glass bowls and ’50s-’60s white ceramic vases. Also our art collection and some wonderful antique furniture, including a ram’s head Chervet coffee table from Chicago, a Willy Rizzo lacquered cabinet from Brussels and a lovely Bagues side table bought in Paris. They’re meaningful pieces, collected over time, and I treasure the stories they hold for me. 

Fracas, £155 for 100ml EDP
Fracas, £155 for 100ml EDP

The grooming staples I’m never without are Oribe shampoo and texture spray, Olaplex conditioner and StriVectin moisturisers – total game-changers. And I’ve worn my perfume, Fracas, for at least 15 years now. Fracas, £155 for 100ml EDP; Olaplex No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner, £24 for 250ml; Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray, $46 for 300ml; and Signature Shampoo, $44 for 250ml; StriVectin Advanced Retinol Day Moisturizer, $99 for 50ml; 

Gurvich King at home in London
Gurvich King at home in London | Image: Rick Pushinsky

If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, it would have to beRome. I lived there for three years and loved the sights, sounds and smells. I’d shop at Chez Dede for its inspiring collection of unique homewares, and also at Arcon, a mecca for the best in contemporary Italian interiors. To satisfy my sweet tooth, I’d visit Confetteria Moriondo e Gariglio, one of Rome’s oldest chocolate‑makers, for the indulgence of their marrons glacés.

Olaplex conditioner, £24 for 250ml
Olaplex conditioner, £24 for 250ml

My style icon is Marella Agnelli, the Italian noblewoman and wife of the late Fiat chairman, Gianni Agnelli. Her fashion sense, hairstyles, interiors and famous gardens were all pure style. As was her demeanour – I don’t think she had the easiest life, and her grace was a true example of what style means. 

Ceramics at Chez Dede, Rome
Ceramics at Chez Dede, Rome

My beauty guru is Tracey Cunningham, who tends to my hair colour when I am in Los Angeles and has an extremely popular salon called Mèche in Beverly Hills. I’ve been seeing Tracey for more than 20 years. The first time, she had just become a colourist after years as Bette Midler’s assistant, and now she tends to the tresses of every major actress and pop star. I have been every colour under the sun and she always keeps me looking my best. From $150 for base colour; 

Gurvich King’s style icon, Marella Agnelli
Gurvich King’s style icon, Marella Agnelli | Image: Conde Nast via Getty Images

The things I’m eyeing next are Picasso ceramics, particularly the large pitchers with the special handles. I always browse the auctions to see what’s out there and have been considering a purchase for years. I love that Picasso experimented with ceramics after being inspired by his time in Vallauris, and ended up creating more than 3,500 of these pieces.

In the Morning by Jay Prince
In the Morning by Jay Prince

An indulgence I would never forgo is art and furniture purchases. I bought an unusual Robert Longo triptych from his Men in the Cities series from a gallery in New York years ago, and will always treasure it. I’m very proud to own it. I also have a wonderful Suzanne Guichon parchment and sycamore commode from the 1930s that I found at Les Puces in Paris decades ago; it was one of my first significant furniture purchases and a catalyst for my love of all things 20th-century design. 

Le Sirenuse, Positano
Le Sirenuse, Positano

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Jean Royère. His furniture is spectacular. I love the curved shapes and forms of his sofas and chairs; I actually pine for them. They’re biomorphic designs created in the 1940s, but they are incredibly modern. My dream is to own one of his extremely rare Polar Bear chairs. 


The last music I downloaded was Ashley Beedle’s Unmask Me and Jay Prince’s In the Morning, which is on my Spotify Repeat a lot lately.

The site that inspires me is Pompeii. I went with my husband on a quick stop‑off on the way to Naples airport last year after a few nights at my favourite hotel in Positano, Le Sirenuse. I knew the entire city was enveloped so quickly by volcanic lava and ash that it was perfectly preserved and frozen in time; but I had no idea how intact the structures, homes, art, signage – even the furniture – was. It’s truly remarkable; a vibrant and advanced society that ended entirely too soon. From €315;

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were ATM T-shirts; I always purchase several at a time as I wear them with everything. Anthony is a wonderful designer and has the most interesting cotton fabrics and cuts. From $68; 

The best gift I’ve given recently was a set of our Wolseley bevelled crystal coupes as a hostess present. I am totally a coupe person rather than a flute one. Our glassware is made exclusively by one of the oldest factories in Europe; they’re hand-blown into fruit moulds and hand-bevelled, which gives them a wonderful deco feel. They’re perfect for champagne and cocktails. Set of six, £245;

My favourite websites are RW Guild, for the imaginative collections with community artisans; The Rake, for its clever menswear edit; and Matches for its new homewares category – they’ve done a wonderful job curating the chic and unusual.  

In my fridge you’ll always find Symprove liquid probiotics. I have been on a health and wellness journey of late, and there were recommended by my functional medicine doctor. They’re a must for modern health with all the issues that stem from our problematic food-supply chain and environment. Starter pack of 12 x 500ml bottles, £158;

The books on my bedside table are Neuro-linguistics Programming for Dummies, which considers great ways of thinking and communicating differently and more effectively – a fascinating book. And Ladies Who Launch. I love all the sage advice from powerful women in business I have received over the years, and want to keep learning and evolving.

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be renovating houses. I find the art of it very exciting. I have a few friends who are masters at this, and I’m endlessly inspired by their wonderful fixtures, fitting, decor and structural change ideas. To work with a blank canvas and create meaningful spaces… It’s truly the dream job. My years in sourcing 20th-century designs and my influential design buddies have given me a great database of resources from which to pull.

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Herbsaint in New Orleans, my hometown. I had the duck and andouille gumbo; it’s the only place where that dish is done better than my mother does it. I love the food in New Orleans; last time I went I took my husband and he gained 10 pounds.

If I didn’t live in London, I would live in is Los Angeles. It’s the city I lived in for the longest – more than 12 years – besides New Orleans. The light, the hills, the mountains and ocean combination… I find it breathtaking. I love hiking and the views from the Temescal Canyon loop trail are amazing. Gjusta is always a must; I love what the brilliant Shelley Armistead has created there – a very pure dining-concept and store in the perfect Venice Beach casual way. I’m also very proud of my friend Jeff Klein and his innovative take on a new type of membership club, San Vicente Bungalows, which opened last December and was designed by the talented Rita Konig. I love the bar and its powerful Spicy Bathhouse Margarita. Gjusta, San Vicente Bungalows, 

This story was originally posted on November 6 2019.

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