Kim Jones on Bloomsbury-set furniture, “old man” Stilton and David Attenborough as a style icon
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My personal style signifier is wearing black. It’s a kind of uniform that means I don’t have to think about it. I usually wear a diamond necklace and a Rolex, like the Datejust with pavé diamonds that my friend Eden customised for me. It’s a conversation piece, but I don’t think it’s too big or too much. rolex.com.
The last thing I bought and loved was a first edition of The Waves, signed by Virginia Woolf to her secretary. I read a lot when I’m on my own and I love holding a book that has touched the writer’s hand.
An unforgettable place I visited is Namibia. I was there for three days with a bunch of farmers who work with a kind of sustainable lambskin. It’s still quite wild compared with most African countries. I also had one of the best experiences of my life at The Brando in French Polynesia last summer, where I swam with a humpback whale. You can hear them above the surface, and then you get in the water and the sound vibrates through your body. From €2,900pp for two nights; thebrando.com.
Next I’d like to go to Rwanda, to see the mountain gorillas. I’d also love to go back to Australia to visit the Northern Territories. There’s a part of the sea where you can see great white sharks, saltwater crocodiles and box jellyfish. I would never go in, but I love the fact that they all cross paths.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is a set of hill-tribe costumes from southeast Asia. I look at fabrics a lot when I travel and I just loved how modern they looked – like sportswear, but the patterns are hundreds of years old. I collect lots of different things, most of which are on display in my house, and people like to have a nose around when they come over.
An object I would never part with is a ceramic matchbox that belonged to my mother. It’s very pretty, with an owl on it. My mum was an avid smoker, which made me hate smoking; I’ve never done it in my life. But I just love this because it’s the only thing I have of hers.
My favourite app is Instagram. It’s the information highway for people who like images. I’m dyslexic, so words aren’t as important to me as images.
An indulgence I would never forgo is privacy. My house is incredibly hidden. Unless you’re invited in, you wouldn’t even know it was there. No one can see inside; that’s what I love.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Harajuku in Tokyo. I just like the vibe on the street – there’s always lots to see and the people look cool there. I’ve been going since 2001, and it now feels like home away from home. It’s got the best men’s vintage in the world – they got stuff from America before anyone else, so they were completely ahead of the game. My favourite shops are Berberjin, which is a vintage store, and Neighbourhood. neighbourhood.jp. webstore.berberjin.com.
My style icon is David Attenborough. He’s the coolest man in the world but he’s also done so much for the planet. I don’t think style is only to do with clothes; it’s about personality. I love that he just wears chinos with a blue shirt, wherever he is in the world, and I’ve always wondered how many of each he travels with. I’ve never met him – I’ve been in the same room, and we’ve exchanged emails – but I’d love to one day.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is The Beautiful Ones by Prince. I’m a big fan of his, and it’s got lots of personal annotated lyrics and pictures. I like that I can just pick it up and read snippets at a time without feeling like I’ve lost my place. £25; waterstones.com.
I can’t miss an episode of Seven Worlds, One Planet, the show David Attenborough’s just done. I have to be in front of the TV every Sunday to watch it. bbc.co.uk.
In my fridge you’ll always find celery, lettuce, avocados, a few cans of Coke and lots of sparkling water. I eat a lot of salad when I’m on my own; I always have some Japanese sesame oil dressing too. I also have Stilton and crackers – that’s another Sunday-night thing. Like a real old man…
My favourite room in my house is my library. I’ve got around 10,000 books on one wall and need to find space for more. The metallic shelves are based on a sketch by Jean Prouvé. Every time anyone goes in there they’re completely in love with it. It’s a very pleasing and relaxing room.
A recent “find” is the Aman hotel in Kyoto. I like that they understand what you need in terms of luxury travel, but also what the communities and the nature around them need. From £777; aman.com.
The gadget I couldn’t do without is the new noise-cancelling AirPods Pro. They’re perfect for the Eurostar – I have two pairs charged up at a time. They fit nicely into my lovely Rimowa clutch, the Personal, which also holds everything else I need. £249, apple.com. The Personal, £1,800; rimowa.com.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe is a Dior overcoat from the autumn 2020 collection show in Miami. It’s just a really well-cut cashmere coat with covered buttons in the same fabric, so it looks very simple and clean. dior.com.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Henri Rousseau. I’ve always liked his work and it’s way above my price league – and also very hard to come by at auction.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Caviar Kaspia in Paris. I’m not much of a foodie – I eat when I need to – but I love that you’re always going to have a laugh when you go there and the people are great. My favourite food is West Indian though, and there’s a great takeaway on Queensway that I go to when I’m in London. I’ll always have jerk chicken, rice and peas. caviarkaspia.com.
The podcasts I listen to are environmental ones – but I don’t listen to any regular podcasts. I prefer to communicate with people. I’m privileged to have access to all the people I want to have access to.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a pair of the blue Off White x Nike Vapor Street sneakers to my studio assistant. They’re really hard to get. If I can do something like that, I’m happy to.
The grooming staple I’m never without is Dior Sauvage fragrance. I’ve also used SkinCeuticals skincare for 10 years. I have a very simple routine, but I always wash my face before I go to bed. Dior Sauvage, from £55 for 50ml; dior.com. skinceuticals.com.
The last music I downloaded was early S’Express, because I’ve been thinking about what to use for show music this month. Mark Ward’s a friend of mine – he was one of the people I looked up to and admired when I was a kid.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would work in conservation. I already do a lot in my personal time – I work on a project in Vietnam near Da Nang with douc langur monkeys. They are very rare – three years ago, there were only 500 left. Now we’ve got the number up to 850. The next cause I’m looking to support is the Javan and Sumatran rhinos – there aren’t even 100 of each left in the wild. The Javan are in an area that’s prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, and the Sumatran live in small subpopulations, so they’re not meeting each other to mate – when they try and catch them to move them, they die of stress. How do you solve that?
My favourite treatment is by FaceGym. I find face massage extremely relaxing. It’s good for lymphatic drainage and to retrain the muscles, because that’s the most important thing as you get older. From £50; facegym.com.
I have a collection of works from the Bloomsbury set. That includes furniture from the Omega Workshops by Roger Fry, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell, as well as lots of paintings and ceramics. I find the whole period incredibly romantic – they were the punks of their era, so to speak; they rebelled against everything and did it in a very beautiful way. I also have a clothing collection of London designers, from 1970 to about 1985, like Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, Leigh Bowery, Christopher Nemeth, Rachel Auburn, Richard Torry and Stephen Linard. I don’t think there’s another collection like it in the world – probably more than 1,000 pieces I’ve collected since I was in college. Eventually, it would be nice to do an exhibition because I want the next generation to see it.
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