My style icon is Ivania Carpio, a Dutch design blogger who has a unique aesthetic. She is obsessed by monochromatic minimalism: she has grey hair and wears black, white and grey – a mix of designer, high street and vintage – and dresses her daughter the same way; even her cat is black. My style is very different and if I am going to look to someone else’s taste it may as well be as alternative to mine as possible.
The last thing I bought and loved was a very long, oversized orange coat from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. It’s a bold design and almost 1980s in style but very easy to dress up or wear with jeans and trainers. I know the two designers and always order a few pieces from every collection. £1,275; www.preenbythorntonbregazzi.com.
And the things I’m eyeing next are two Noé Sendas photographic prints from the Michael Hoppen Gallery, which recently had an exhibition of this Belgian artist’s work. I like the images – called Wallpaper* Girl (Dior) and Wallpaper* Girl (Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane & Salvatore Ferragamo), the result of a collaboration with Wallpaper* magazine – because they’re dreamlike but there is something old Hollywood and David Lynch about them too. £2,760 each framed;3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 (020-7352 3649; michaelhoppengallery.com).
If I didn’t live in London, the city I would live in isBerlin. It has such a great art scene; I love visiting the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Bauhaus Archive and Helmut Newton Foundation. It is also a very green city with lots of trees and I like taking a boat trip down the river and having dinner at the Grill Royal, which is modern, fun and lively, or the Borchardt brasserie, which is buzzy but feels a bit worn-out and has it’s own charm. The nightlife is great – I recently went to a riverside club called Watergate that looks over a bridge with Rapunzel-esque gothic-style towers. Bauhaus Archive, Klingelhöferstrasse 14 (+4930-254 0020; www.bauhaus.de). Borchardt, Französische Strasse 47 (+4930-8188 6262; www.borchardt-restaurant.de). Grill Royal, Friedrichstrasse 105 (+4930-2887 9288; www.grillroyal.com). Helmut Newton Foundation, Jebensstrasse 2 (+4930-3186 4856; www.helmutnewton.com). Neue Nationalgalerie, Potsdamer Strasse 50 (+4930-2664 24242; www.smb.museum/en/museums-and-institutions/neue-nationalgalerie/home.html). Watergate, Falckensteinstrasse 49 (+4930-6128 0394; www.water-gate.de).
The beauty staple I’m never without is Eve Lom TLC Cream. My skin always becomes unbalanced as the seasons change and this calms it down beautifully. £55 for 50ml; www.evelom.com.
A recent “find” is the Beaumont hotel in London. I love the huge Antony Gormley sculpture bolted onto the side of the building and the fact there is a Gormley-designed suite inside. I also like the Colony Grill Room’s interiors, which are very art deco-cum-futuristic and yet cosy. The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens, London W1 (020-7499 1001; www.thebeaumont.com).
The best souvenirs I’ve brought home are vintage kimonos from Japan that I bought last year. One of my best friends lives in Tokyo and we took a girls’ trip to Kyoto, where there are many traditional shops for geishas. I actually wear them, and although my clothes get trashed when I work, it doesn’t matter to me because they hold good memories.
An indulgence I would never forgo is sleep. I need seven or ideally eight hours a night. I am the most boring person to travel with because I take every opportunity to nod off and always take an eye mask and earplugs. The minute I shut my eyes I’m off dreaming.
The books on my bedside table include Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. I have read all Murakami’s work and I like that his is not a normal reality; he describes things in very rich language, mixing romantic realism with dreams. And Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald; it is the only F Scott Fitzgerald book I haven’t read. Although it was written in the 1930s it remains strikingly relevant, as we too live in an era where a recession and major wealth co-exist. When I was reading The Beautiful and Damned, I felt Fitzgerald could be describing some of the people we know now.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Marylebone in London – I have lived in the area for 20 years and everything is right on the doorstep. I love Daunt Books – it’s where I buy nearly all my novels; I go to Skandium for Nordic homewares; and The Conran Shop has great children’s gifts. Madesil Pharmacie is one of the few independent chemists left – it carries really good, unusual skincare brands and the service is great. For food I like Le Vieux Comptoir, a French deli and wine merchant full of quirky finds and with charming French owners, and on Sundays I’ll visit the farmers’ market, where I’ll head straight to the wild mushroom stall and then buy lots of groceries for the week ahead. The Conran Shop, 55 Marylebone Road (020-7723 2223; www.conranshop.co.uk).Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street (020-7224 2295; www.dauntbooks.co.uk). Madesil Pharmacie, 20 Marylebone High Street (020-7935 3078). Marylebone Farmers’ Market, Cramer Street Car Park, Cramer Street (020-7833 0338). Skandium, 86 Marylebone Road (020-7935 2077; www.skandium.com). Le Vieux Comptoir, 26-28 Moxon Street (020-7224 0303; www.levieuxcomptoir.co.uk).
My favourite room in my house is the sitting room. I love how the black walls contrast with the white furniture and golden accents. It is also the largest and most comfortable room in our duplex apartment.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an architect, so I could stick to design but on a much larger scale, or a pâtisserie chef so I could create cake sculptures. These have the advantage of being something you can eat at the end – and I do like sweet things.