My style icons are all gracefully elegant older women: Marella Agnelli, Annette de la Renta, American philanthropist and fashion icon Deeda Blair and my mother-in-law, Beatrice Santo Domingo. They have a certain style and ease that comes with age – and they have the most fun jewels.
The best gift I’ve given recently was an antique gold charm bracelet to my goddaughter on the occasion of her baptism. I found it in a shop in Georgia and plan to add charms every year on her birthday. So far it has two: the first is engraved with the date of her baptism and the second is a four-leaf clover by Fabergé.
And the best one I’ve received was a simple tape measure from my dear friend Derek Blasberg. It is cute but utilitarian and fits easily in my pocket. I use it almost daily.
The last meal that truly impressed me was a special dinner at Blackberry Farm, a little hotel in Walland, Tennessee. It was prepared by visiting chef David Chang of New York’s cult restaurant Momofuku, who brought his own Asian-inflected style to this outstanding multicourse meal. All the food was locally sourced and everything about the night, from the spectacular rural-chic setting to the wholesome yet modern cuisine, was magical. www.blackberryfarm.com.
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are my colourist Lena Ott at Suite Caroline in Greenwich Village; facialist Georgia Louise on the Upper West Side, who leaves my sensitive skin feeling refreshed; and Mary Helen Bowers at Ballet Beautiful in SoHo, where I do weekly group classes with friends – she creates an atmosphere that is very easy-going and not at all competitive. In London, I go to George Northwood for its great haircuts. Ballet Beautiful,www.balletbeautiful.com. George Northwood, 24 Wells St, London W1 (020-7580 8195; www.georgenorthwood.com). Georgia Louise, www.georgialouise.co.uk. Suite Caroline, 65 Greene St, New York, NY 10012 (+1212-431 4400; www.suitecaroline.com).
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I was visiting with Conservation International, an organisation my husband Andrés is very involved in that is dedicated to helping countries create sustainable farming and fishing practices. Kauai is lush and green, the coastline spectacular, and it felt so completely serene. www.conservation.org.
The books on my bedside table include Pavlovsk: The Life of a Russian Palace by Suzanne Massie, a novel-like history book set in the 18th-century court of Catherine the Great. Then there’s The Invention of the Past: Interior Design and Architecture of Studio Peregalli, about this Milan-based firm’s beautiful work, and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough, a slightly trashy novel for a bit of escapism.
If I didn’t live in New York, the city I would live in is Madrid, because I love the food and Spanish hours. Casa Lucio is a favourite for croquettes, garlic prawns and the best jamón serrano. I love shopping for antiques and always find interesting pieces at Lorenzo Castillo; and the Prado is one of my favourite museums in the world – I’d love to be able to visit more often. I’d live in the area surrounding El Retiro – Madrid’s answer to Central Park. Casa Lucio, 35 Calle Cava Baja (+3491-365 3252; www.casalucio.es). Lorenzo Castillo, 25 Calle Almirante (+3491-391 1052; www.lorenzocastillo.org). Museo Nacional del Prado, Paseo del Prado (+3491-330 2800; www.museodelprado.es).
My favourite room in my house is my two-year-old daughter Beatrice’s bedroom. It combines pink floral prints reminiscent of Laura Ashley and nostalgic pieces from my own childhood. When I get home, I kick off my shoes and head straight there to do puzzles with my daughter and unwind from the day.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the areas around Aoyama and Shibuya in Tokyo; I love the energy of this city. Tokyu Hands is an incredible department store with everything from kitchen utensils to desk accessories, and I always find unique foodie gifts at Takashimaya. The Herzog & de Meuron-designed Prada store is always a must as well. Prada Aoyama, 5-2-6 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku (+813-6418 0400; www.prada.com). Takashimaya Shinjuku, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku (+813-5361 1111; www.takashimaya.co.jp).Tokyu Hands, 12-18 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku (+813-5489 5111; www.tokyu-hands.co.jp).
In my fridge you’ll always find Pure Brazilian Raw Coconut Water and a special Colombian lentil dish made from my husband Andrés’s family recipe. I always have the basics for my children too, including whole milk and fresh fruit.
The sites that inspire me are Rome’s ancient ruins. I studied history at college and find the varied monuments, temples and tombs along the Appian Way – as well as Hadrian’s Villa and the well-preserved settlement at Ostia Antica – particularly awe-inspiring.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an interior designer. I have just finished a project with Jacques Grange and adored the entire process from start to finish. I love reimagining spaces and have very definite ideas about what works for a particular environment.