My personal style signifier is a bow tie or tie. I dress every day – and have been doing it since I was a kid – and a tie is a great way to add a stylish or playful touch. I have a thousand in my collection and I often make them in vintage fabric, but I also like a preppy Ralph lauren tie that’s all about classic American style.
The last thing I bought and loved was a pair of jeans from Respoke, a company that turns vintage and new silk scarves – Hermès, Pucci, Gucci – into unique clothing and accessories. This particular pair of jeans has Hermès silk sewn into the sides at the outer seam, and there are unique hand-painted details as well. Every piece they make – from bobs to sneakers – is unique, which I love. respoke.com
And on my wishlist is a Hinckley picnic boat. They are made of Burmese teak with beautiful shiny and contrasting navy blue and white hulls. This boat comes straight from the Italian Riviera, except it is made in Maine. I would love to have one with us in Provincetown, Cape Cod. hinckleyyachts.com
The best memories I took home are ashtrays – so old fashioned but often wonderfully designed. I have a huge collection of them over the years, but I’m always sure to ask before I take them. I particularly like the ones in the big hotels in Europe – my ashtray at the Savoy in Rome is a particular highlight.
My favorite room in my house is my living room, aka “the tree house”. Built in 1959, this hall has 9-meter-high barrel-ribbed ceilings, almost like a boat. It is made of unfinished redwood, which gives it that wonderful smell, and since the house is in a park-like setting. [San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights], you don’t feel like you’re in a city at all.
The podcast I listen to is Bring a friend with Anne Devereux-Mills, Adimika Arthur and Arielle Fuller. They host a group of smart and interesting women who discuss a range of issues from different angles. I was a recent guest – the second man in the series; US Senator Cory Booker was the first – and learned so much. I’m also obsessed with Ira Glass stories on This American life.
A recent “find” is summer tomato sandwiches on potato buns with mayonnaise of Pop + Dutch in Provincetown. They are only available for a few weeks each year and they are beyond delicious.
My grooming guru is Doyle Lavarias, who gives me precision haircuts every three weeks. I’m obsessed with a great haircut and he always delivers – whether it’s in his individual shop or at my house. My wellness guru isn’t really mine, but I’m pretty dependent on Peloton instructor Cody Rigsby. I’m addicted to Peloton in large part because his classes are so fun and it feels like a personal relationship. Doyle Lavarias, 1135 Ellis Street # A103, San Francisco, CA (+1 1408-876 7187). Cody Rigsby, @codyrigsby
The last music I downloaded was Sing for me instead by Ben Platt. i loved her in Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway and this debut album is just as beautiful because her voice is so emotional.
The design that changed everything for me was the home of Thomas Jefferson Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s close to where I grew up – I went there a few times as a kid and it had a huge impact on my own design sensibility. It’s a neoclassical building, rooted in the past, and yet it still feels very modern.
In my fridge you will always find oat milk for my morning coffee and fractions of Ruinart rosé champagne for the guests. If you are offered champagne, never refuse – that’s what they say. I also always have some really good pickles and an assortment of jams. I’m obsessed with jam, and I usually have four kinds of Bonne Maman: cherry, blueberry, apricot, and raspberry.
The best gift I have given recently is a glorious painting called Nocturnal by artist Salvatore del Deo to my husband Kurt for his birthday. We’re big fans of 93-year-old Sal – so much so that we named our dog after him – and this particular landscape features spectacular sea and skies, just after sunset. I generally like to give experiences, but art brings a continuous joy that will endure.
And the best gift I received recently is a vintage Rolex in its original case from the year of my birth. A friend gave me this classic stainless steel watch as a thank you during the pandemic and it was so thoughtful and unexpected which made it even more special. It’s simple and practical – not flashy at all – so it’s perfect for me.
I recently rediscovered the Canasta card game and the card game in general. I like the social but competitive aspects of this particular game. The cards are old world, tech-free, and fun.
The gadget that I couldn’t do without is a juicer for fresh lime juice that I use to make margaritas. They are available in fun colors and this is just a simple old fashioned hand press – no electricity.
The best book I read last year is a first signed edition of Edgar Sawtelle’s story by David Wroblewski. I actually re-read this book because it’s a great Herculean read and I really wanted to enjoy it. It is the story of a dumb boy, his mythical dogs and his maturity in nature. It’s heroic and it was even better the second time around.
An object that I will never part with is a silver bracelet on my wrist that my husband gave me on our first wedding anniversary almost 30 years ago. It’s very simple, with just a light gold ribbon. The other thing I wouldn’t part with is a platinum Cartier Love bracelet that I’ve been wearing for 17 years.
An indulgence that I would never give up is extravagant hotels. I’m a hotel junkie and I subscribe to the theory that the best room really matters. A beautifully designed hotel changes your whole outlook on a place. I would also have a hard time giving up the cashmere sweaters from Leret-Leret and Lingua Franca, embroidered to measure with symbols or clever sayings.
I have a collection of over 200 pairs of cufflinks. My dad gave me his collection and it blossomed from there. I have originals, stylish sets – and a pair of Playboy bunnies from the 1960s. My favorite is an eye-catching set of Fornasetti. I only wear vintage cufflinks, never new.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Thom Browne rowing style blazer with green and cream stripes. It has frayed edges and a slightly deconstructed look.
The grooming staple that I never deprive myself of is Kiehl’s Ultimate Brushless White Eagle shaving cream. It contains menthol, which is mildly numbing, and if it were ever to be stopped I would buy it wholesale as it is vital to my daily routine. $ 18, kiehls.com
My favorite apps are Dark sky for the weather because I always travel, and 1stDibs because it allows me to buy very specific pieces – like a Jean Royère screen – wherever I am in the world. It is essential for my work.
The only artist whose work I would collect if I could is David Hockney. I love landscape and portraiture and he masters both, not to mention the breadth and length of his career. There is an optimism and joy in his art – especially in his beautiful swimming pools – which I would love to live with.
My style icon is Gianni Agnelli – I love this Italian sensitivity and confidence. Cary Grant was also incredibly easygoing. I’m not the streetwear type, so I like their style of dress. Tom Ford once said that you shouldn’t wear soft-soled shoes when dressed, and I tend to agree. Watching together is important to me.
If I didn’t do what I do I would be a film director. Everything I do in my work is cinematic and every project starts with a script. Bringing things to life, in color, would be a natural extension of my design work.
The place I can’t wait to return is Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda in northern Italy. This is an extravagant and quirky family hotel that makes you feel like you are nowhere else. A gorgeous Riva boat takes you for lunch or a swim, and while you’re not looking, someone comes out to give you a towel you didn’t expect.