Roots, home and cooking.
“I was born in Gien, in the Loiret area, right in the heart of France. This explains why I am always very down to earth even though I spend much of my time flying! Nothing will ever undermine my sense of belonging, the deep bond I have with my homeland. Besides, according to the Chinese horoscope I was born under the sign of the horse. After years of studying jurisprudence and art history to become an auctioneer, I made a foray into the world of journalism. People fascinate me and I could just have easily become a psychologist. But in the end, my passion for culture and the art of fine living prevailed, leading me to become Communications Director for the Maison de Champagne Ruinart.”
Every year I address the great names of art and design, asking them to interpret the spirit of the “plus ancienne Maison de Champagne”. You will agree with me that three centuries of history provide a remarkable source of inspiration!
My greatest fortune? To have worked with Yves Saint Laurent e Pierre Bergé in the Haute Couture business, an incredible environment frequented by people that seem to have popped straight out of a novel, or even a theatre performance! Besides which, even the furnishings in Avenue Marceau looked like a theatre set! Then I went to work for Loulou de Falaise, an elegant woman who was also beautiful and generous, in other words an extraordinary designer who, like me, loved urban luxury and country simplicity. We shared the same passion for gardens. Nothing in the world fascinates me more than gardens and this is why I adore Neuilly! The view of the Bois de Boulogne is utterly amazing. And then, like Loulou, I love having guests and cooking for them.
My favourite dish? I admit to having a weakness for Italian cuisine. My own speciality is risotto: I interpret it in many different ways, with saffron, with asparagus… I have friends all over the world but when I am passing through Paris, they never miss coming to dinner at my place, even though I live in Neuilly (outside of Paris). The view of the Bois de Boulogne and the Eiffel Tower makes them forget the distance.
I feel elegant: when I do a good deed, when I make someone happy.
My ideal outfit: it has to be oversized and this applies to both the suit and the shirt. This certainly has something to do with my Saint Laurent period!
The finest gift I have ever received: a thank you letter from my friend Bob Wilson thanking me for a dinner I put on in his honour.
In my suitcase: I never travel without books. I love “real books”, those with pages you can turn over. I only use my iPad for press reviews. What I love about books is their smell together with the idea of being able to reread them.
My favourite place: Venice! Maybe because my birth sign is Leo, like Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel - she too was in love with Venice - and because I am crazy about Italy. Otherwise, I would choose Los Angeles where, moreover, I will probably go and live one day. What I like about Los Angeles is the lifestyle and the light.
Music: I listen to a bit of everything – I am very curious – but above all I adore classical music, nurturing an exaggerated passion for Schubert’s trio for Piano and orchestra op. 100. The Capuçon brothers’ version is sublime!
Interior decoration: Cut flowers in every corner, peonies or orchids, for instance. I buy from the best orchid supplier in Paris, Sylvain Georges in rue des Petits Pères n. 4.
My favourite book : "Bonjour Tristesse" by Françoise Sagan. I adore this writer and cannot understand why it has been dropped from school curricula. She was extraordinary and I was lucky enough to meet her when I worked as a journalist. She gave me this tip: when writing, always reread aloud to yourself whatever you have written!
My favourite film: "Melancholia" by Lars Von Trier. A sort of cinema alien, halfway between a film and an artwork, and then there is the music by Richard Wagner .... I have seen it over and over again but I saw it for the first time at the Pagode in rue de Babylone, my favourite cinema.
My fears : about being late ... AGAIN!
Never : complain. I was brought up by a nanny called Denise. She was much older than my parents but very affectionate and severe at the same time. Never explain never complain. I find it hard to follow the “never explain” part, but I put “never complain” into practice every day!
Always : I always give myself unconditionally. So I have nothing to regret.
My favourite App : Instagram!
Three “confidential” addresses:
My bookshop : The Galignani bookshop in rue de Rivoli, Paris. Danielle, Valérie, Bertrand and Daniele are real darlings! Always helpful, even when Karl Lagerfeld is there buying his books.
My favourite garden: Bomarzo, a garden near Rome I discovered with Loulou and her husband Thadée Klossoswki de Rola. A fantastic place! I often used to go there with Loulou and have never gone back since then.
My restaurant: the Voltaire, an old habit that dates back to the days when I frequented the St. Germain des Prés district with Antoine and Thierry. They completely spoil me and Figaro, my dachshund, is treated like a King! At weekends, if the weather is fine I go to the Kobo d'Asafumi Yamashita instead, that offers a set menu. Asafumi is a first class market gardener a few kilometres away from Paris. He supplies the greatest chefs.