My personal style signifier is my late-1950s Breitling Navitimer 806, which was a 21st birthday present. I love the monochrome feel and the functional dial. It is quite a technical watch, but looks elegant; it has nice lines and great heritage. 1959 Navitimer 806 reedition, £6,520; breitling.com.
The last item of clothing I bought and loved was a vintage Brunello Cucinelli linen jacket. The thing that got me was the sandy, hessian-type shade. I didn’t have anything like that in my wardrobe and I knew it would look good with jeans. Similar from £2,100; brunellocucinelli.com.
And the item of clothing I’m eyeing next is a bespoke shirt from Budd, perhaps in a blue and white micro-gingham. I think Budd collars are a good size; they have a nice volume to them. I’d also like some black butterfly loafers from New & Lingwood. I’ve had my eye on these for a while and every time I go in they’ve sold out. Bespoke shirts, from £325; buddshirts.co.uk. Butterfly loafers, £450; newandlingwood.com.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is Himbrimi, an Icelandic amber gin with great botanicals – it’s beautiful. I thought Iceland was a great place to buy a spirit: it’s very pure and clean. £39.13 for 50cl; himbrimi.com and masterofmalt.com.
The grooming staple I’m never without is scent. I feel underdressed without it. At any given time, there could well be 20 to 30 perfumes in my bathroom cabinet. I have quite a few from Frédéric Malle, particularly Cologne Bigarade, and I wear Acqua di Parma Colonia an awful lot; I like citrus notes for daywear. Frédéric Malle Cologne Bigarade, £155 for 100ml EDC; fredericmalle.co.uk. Acqua di Parma Colonia, £102 for 100ml EDC; acquadiparma.com.
The best gift I’ve received recently is a Lego Porsche GT3 RS. It was a gift from my wife, Anne-Marie. I haven’t built it yet; it’s still boxed. Essentially, it’s a toy, but it’s so much more. The GT3 RS is an amazing piece of engineering and this is a big Technic kit, nearly 2ft long. Lego Porsche GT3 RS, from £274.99; amazon.co.uk.
A recent “find” is Take5 in Hong Kong, a tiny shop selling authentic Japanese denim in a city that technically can’t wear it because it’s usually too hot. It has great brands like Studio D’Artisan and Big John, and denims up to 24oz: you can stand the jeans up on their legs. take5jeans.com.
And the things I’ll keep to pass on to my boys are my watches – an Omega Speedmaster and the Breitling Navitimer. And a silver Swiss Army knife that Anne-Marie bought for me in New York years ago; it’s always in my washbag. omegawatches.com.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose SoHo in New York: it has the best food, shops, bars and friends in a square mile. We’d do brunch at Lucky Strike, go to Oliver Peoples for my glasses, then DTR Modern Galleries, Pasquale Jones pizza and a great antiques shop called Artifacts 20th Century – I always go in there and think, “How can I get that back to England?” Artifacts 20th Century, 280 Mott Street (artifacts20thcentury.com). Lucky Strike, 59 Grand Street (luckystrikeny.com). Oliver Peoples, 366 West Broadway (oliverpeoples.com). DTR Modern Galleries, 458 West Broadway (dtrmodern.com). Pasquale Jones, 187 Mulberry Street (pasqualejones.com).
My favourite app is The Room, a game app with sublime graphics and difficult puzzles – it’s great when I am delayed at the airport. I listen to music too, but The Room keeps my mind active. apps.apple.com.
My style icon is David Niven – effortlessly elegant, comical and confusing all at the same time. I’m reading his memoir The Moon’s a Balloon. I think he has this amazing, quintessential look – but there was always that little bit of disdain with it.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Iceland, for a photo shoot. It was staggering: you really get a powerful sense of rock and ice, fire and granite. It feels like the world developed from there. In Perlan, the glacier museum, there were these great graphics that showed photographs of glaciers from the 1990s – a photo a week, over 20 years – and ran them on fast play. You could literally see them shrinking. Perlan Wonders of Iceland Museum (perlan.is).
In my fridge you’ll always find anchovy paste – so many uses; lemons – gin, again; mango chutney; Müller Corners for the kids; and bottled milk from the milkman – I like supporting that. If there’s too much in the house, we make a rice pudding; if there’s too little, we worry.
An item of clothing I would never part with is my calfskin belt with a silver buckle. I’ve had it 25 years and I wear it most days. It was made at a factory – gone now – that we used to work with. Everything comes and goes, but the belt is always there.
An indulgence I would never forgo is Fortnum & Mason tea, usually Fortmason, a blend of Darjeeling and China teas. We have a lot of tea in the house. I tend to use loose leaf, and when I go to Hong Kong I always buy pu-erh and Keemun. Fortmason, £12.50 for 250g; fortnumandmason.com.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is How Not to Die by Dr Michael Greger. I’m reading it slowly. It’s an addictive study of health and food. Everyone who visits me picks it up and wants to read it too.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Patrick Caulfield – although we might need a bigger house first. I have liked Caulfield’s work for ever; it’s simple yet complex at the same time – a strong message pared down to graphic lines and block colours. I do have a small piece of his already – part of a run he did for a book.
The best gift I’ve given recently was RHS membership to my wife, Anne-Marie. We both love gardens and RHS Wisley is just up the road. I think it was a very cheering gift for both of us. From £63; rhs.org.uk.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Murano in Mayfair: burrata with blood orange, mint and olive oil; pork belly and loin, chou farci, apple purée, mustard fruit; and herb agnolotti, morels, Crottin de Chavignol. Oh, and pistachio soufflé with hot chocolate sauce. Getting good Italian in the UK is not easy. muranolondon.com.
My favourite room in my house is the kitchen: it’s a classic hub, always busy with family, and has great views of the garden. Or my bedroom, which has a massive corner window that looks out over the garden and an Egg-type chair from the Danish design firm BoConcept where I can sit and read for hours.
The last music I bought was a selection of jazz: E.S.T. Live in Hamburg by the Esbjorn Svensson Trio; Empirical by Empirical; TV Sound and Image: British Television, Film and Library Composers 1956-80; and Reflections & Odysseys by Rymden. The message I take from this is that I’m happy to listen to repetitive rhythms.
For personal grooming I rely on Toni & Guy: I tend to go there because living outside London it’s a safer bet. Although my last haircut was in a local Bramley barbers. It was good – I’m quite pleased and I might go back. The Barber Shop & Studio, Bramley (01483-898 588). toniandguy.com.
If I didn’t live in Surrey, I’d live in Florence – although maybe just for a year. I’m saying that because I’ve been there a lot and I’ve always thought how nice it would be to pop into the great restaurants like Trattoria 13 Gobbi or Perseus, but primarily to really soak up the art, to deeply educate myself. You could spend a lot of time in the Uffizi, as opposed to having just one whirlwind-like day. Le Gallerie degli Uffizi (uffizi.it). Ristorante Perseus, Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni 10/R, 50129 (+3955-588 226). Trattoria 13 Gobbi, Via del Porcellana 9R, 50123 (+3955-284 015).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a Porsche designer. Mechanically, my expertise would be in tractors – that’s what my dad had, along with old cars and bikes – but I wouldn’t necessarily be into the hard engineering; more the styling, the interiors and the finish.
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