Emilia Wickstead talks personal taste: Part One

The New Zealand-born designer is known for elegant occasionwear with a modern edge and recently opened a new salon on London’s Sloane Street

Emilia Wickstead at home
Emilia Wickstead at home | Image: Trent McMinn

My personal style signifier is a black cashmere turtleneck sweater by Malo, which I wear with slim black trousers from my own collection. I love wearing dressy things, but for everyday I like to be comfortable, especially as I’m pregnant. www.malo.it.

The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of vivid royal-blue vases from the antiques fair at Kempton Park racecourse, where I often go looking for items for our new house. I don’t think they’re at all valuable, but I fell in love with their very idiosyncratic shape and narrow bases; they look almost like classical urns. Sunbury Antiques Market, Kempton Racecourse, Staines Road East, Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex TW16 5AQ (01932-230 946; www.sunburyantiques.com).

Emilia Wickstead’s Charlotte Olympia bag, £495
Emilia Wickstead’s Charlotte Olympia bag, £495

And the thing I’m eyeing next is mid-20th‑century furniture. I really enjoy homemaking and pride myself on refashioning flea-market finds. I rarely go out with a specific object in mind, but a favourite place, when I’m on holiday in Italy, is the antiques market in Piedmont’s Casale Monferrato that is full of fabulous bits and bobs. Piazza Castello, Casale Monferrato, Piedmont.

The last accessory I added to my wardrobe was a bag by Charlotte Olympia that has this wonderfully cute, almost sketch-like cat’s face and ears. It could be silly but it’s actually elegant and it adds a light touch to the grandest dress. £495; 56 Maddox Street, London W1 (020-7499 0145; www.charlotteolympia.com).


The best souvenir I’ve brought home is handmade, personalised writing paper from Venice. I collect art stationery; it’s so easy to send an email but I think people appreciate receiving a letter on proper paper and it’s a pleasure to use. I love Venice’s longstanding tradition of making beautiful marbled versions, and shops like Antica Legatoria Piazzesi, one of the oldest, handstamp theirs using original woodcuts. Campiello della Feltrina (+3904-1520 1978; www.legatoriapiazzesi.it).

In my fridge you’ll always find After Eight mints, I know they’re outdated but I love them; broccoli, which my daughter adores; and Laurent-Perrier pink champagne, because every day is a special occasion.

Emilia Wickstead’s Venetian stationery
Emilia Wickstead’s Venetian stationery

The best gifts I’ve given recently were facials at Liberty’s Sisley Beauty Rooms for all my assistants after they worked all hours to get the show collection completed on time. I wanted to reward them for their hard work, and for them to feel relaxed and happy afterwards. Sisley treatments and products are my favourite – I love everything about them. Regent Street, London W1 (020-7734 1234; www.liberty.co.uk).

And the best one I’ve received was a fabulous bouquet of pale-green and white hydrangeas and roses from Scarlet & Violet – beautiful, subtle flowers with an almost vintage feel, put together so they look natural and casual, but you know each one has been meticulously placed. 76 Chamberlayne Road, London NW10 (020-8969 9446; www.scarletandviolet.com).

Emilia Wickstead’s Sunbury Antiques Market vases
Emilia Wickstead’s Sunbury Antiques Market vases | Image: Trent McMinn

The last music I downloaded was a Muddy Waters album called Brass and the Blues. I love to have music on all the time, at work and at home, and I’m really enjoying listening to old tunes, especially the blues.

An indulgence I would never forgo is reading magazines in bed on the days my husband gets our daughter up to give me a lie-in; he thinks I’m asleep.

Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, Palm Springs
Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House, Palm Springs | Image: Alamy

The site that inspires me is Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs. It was designed in the 1940s yet is timelessly modern, its horizontal planes such a perfect contrast to the desert mountain landscape. And although it’s built to keep out the fierce heat, it lets in so much light. It’s my ideal house.

My favourite websites and apps are Business of Fashion, which I read every day for industry insights and scoops; Pinterest, which, as a very visual person, I love; and Uber, for reliable, inexpensive taxis. www.businessoffashion.com. www.uber.com. uk.pinterest.com.