What’s your favourite home?
I can live in many places but if I had to live in one it would be my Connecticut home, Cloudwalk Farm. It is an old farmhouse, about 200 years old, and is comprised of five houses on the property. But it’s the land that’s really beautiful: wild and open fields, woods, rivers, waterfalls. It’s just heaven. I bought it when I was 26. I also have an apartment in Paris, a beautiful little house on the pink sand of Harbour Island and a boat called Eos. Harbour Island used to be my mother’s house. My apartment in Paris is on the Left Bank; I’ve lived on that street for 20 years so it’s my neighbourhood and I walk everywhere. Interior designer François Catroux did both my apartment in Paris and our boat Eos. Interior design is always about comfort. For me, in order to be well designed, it has to be just super comfortable.
How would you describe your home in New York?
My home in New York is my work. For example, this room we’re in is my office and where I eat, entertain and exercise. And I sleep on the top floor. I moved to New York in 1970 but my true home is in Connecticut.
How did you decorate your New York place?
My style is always very eclectic but I don’t find it to be so unusual because it’s the way I like to do things.
You started from scratch with your shop in a building in New York’s Meatpacking District. Tell me about that.
These were three buildings but because it is a historical neighbourhood we had to keep the façade so we gutted them and rebuilt them. It’s been great. This renaissance of the entire neighbourhood has been amazing because it’s not just my building, you have the Highline Park in between. Having been so involved in saving the Highline and turning it into the number two park in New York has been pretty exciting.
What do you enjoy most about being in New York?
I love New York because the energy is great. It’s built on rock, on granite, so you have much more energy here and you get things done. It’s also my headquarters. I love it here, it’s like my beehive.
What are some of your hobbies?
I don’t like the slavery of collecting so I never say I collect things. But I do collect the art of my contemporaries because they are my contemporaries. And before that I collected Pre-Raphaelite paintings because they are of beautiful women. I also like 20th-century furniture.
What’s your favourite room?
The one you don’t see [laughing]: my bedroom. It’s all glass and there’s a garden.
You have recently unveiled your suites for Claridge’s. Tell me about your memories of the hotel.
I’m not quite sure of my first memory because it’s been a long time but my most memorable experience at Claridge’s was in 1983, when I sold my very successful cosmetics company to an English pharmaceutical company. I came to London to do the negotiations and I had a beautiful suite at Claridge’s. I felt really grown-up and glamorous and ever since I have always felt Claridge’s is the most glamorous hotel in the world.
How do the suites you designed reflect your style?
My imprint is on everything, from the rugs and furniture to the desks and bed, and it’s all about the way I live in a hotel. When you walk in, what’s important? The bed, the desk, the dressing table, the closet, the bathroom, the television … The big suite, for example, has cosy sofas and lots of big chairs and a table where you could have your children. I know Brad Pitt stays in that suite so he can be with all his kids watching television while working on the computer.
Tell me about the inspiration behind the fabrics you chose.
The fabrics are very bold and classical at the same time. There’s a lot of animal prints and colours. One room has big flowers. Hotels are fantasy and they’ve just got to make you dream.
You’re known for your stylish use of prints. Do you have a favourite print?
I like animal prints and animal rugs. They’re totally timeless, feline, bold and elegant – all the things I like. I have my camera with me at all times and I take close-up pictures of nature and textures and transform them into fabric.
How would you describe your taste and style? Has it evolved over the years?
As you grow you get more confident and as you’ve collected more things you’re more secure about things you like. My personal style is all about being confident, comfortable and relaxed yet glamorous.