My personal style signifiers are black Charvet boxer shorts – not that many people see those – and black vintage T-shirts worn inside out. I bought a few pairs of boxers at Charvet in Paris a few years ago, and they fit perfectly, so I started having them made. As for the T-shirts, I prefer vintage ones because of how soft they are, and the cut is better for me – but I hate the graphics they tend to have on them, so I wear them inside out. It’s quite annoying for people. At least two to three times a day, I get asked: “Do you know…?”

Custom Charvet boxer shorts and robes
Custom Charvet boxer shorts and robes © Bastian Achard
Bargo’s lamp by director David Lynch
Bargo’s lamp by director David Lynch © Bastian Achard

The last thing I bought and loved was a table lamp by the director David Lynch. He had an art exhibition at Pace Gallery in New York in 2022. The style is, as you can imagine, a bit chaotic, bizarre. It has a sort of plaster-resin base, and a beautiful tinted-glass shade on top. People either love or hate it – there’s no in-between.  

The best souvenir I’ve brought home was from Sicily last summer, when I was celebrating my birthday. I found a really beautiful ring in an antiques store in Noto: an antique Roman coin in a gold setting with a chain-like band. I wear it every day as a reminder of friends, and of being in a great place in life.

His Roman coin ring from Noto, Sicily
His Roman coin ring from Noto, Sicily © Bastian Achard
A favourite recent read: Twentieth Century Man by Christopher Wallace
A favourite recent read: Twentieth Century Man by Christopher Wallace © Bastian Achard

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Twentieth Century Man: The Wild Life of Peter Beard by Christopher Wallace. I always loved his art, I just hadn’t realised he was such a complex character. This bridges the gaps between his humanitarian and environmental work and his upper-class party life.

I have so many style icons: Gianni Agnelli, Michael Chow, Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen, Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp… but Agnelli came to my mind first. He was so elegant but so original. He did so much that everyone tried to copy, but no one else could really pull it off: the watch on top of his shirt, all those things that if you saw anyone else trying to do it, it would look really tragic. He also didn’t seem that uptight, but he really cared about art and interiors. It was all about living a stylish life. 

Dragster, 2021, by Louis Eisner
Dragster, 2021, by Louis Eisner © Bastian Achard
Silver Christofle chopsticks in an antique Afghan bowl
Silver Christofle chopsticks in an antique Afghan bowl © Bastian Achard

The best gift I’ve given recently was to a client of mine, when we were finishing his townhouse in New York. He almost exclusively eats sushi, so I got him some very simple sterling-silver chopsticks from Christofle. I thought they were a pretty good gift because they are elegant and chic, but also fun. In fact, I bought some for myself too.

The best gift I’ve received recently is a pastel drawing by the artist Louis Eisner, who is a good friend. His work contains these sort of comic-book characters drawn in exaggerated, abstract, whimsical ways: this one is a car that has a mouth, eyes and teeth. I’ve placed a few of his pieces in projects I’ve done – he actually did a mural for the client I gave the chopsticks to.

Bargo at home in New York
Bargo at home in New York © Bastian Achard

The last music I downloaded was David Bowie’s “Lazarus”. It was used on a TV show I was watching recently, so now I keep playing it while I work. I’m drawn more to sad, depressing music usually. It’s a bit dark to listen to on repeat – but I do! 

I have a collection of ceramics, both contemporary and vintage. I have maybe 50: pots, vases, abstract sculptures… Ceramics are such great pieces of art to have in a space: they can take on so many different lives. I have a few Picasso plates, and quite a few Roger Herman pieces, which I really, really love – his use of colour is fantastic. I don’t make my own, though. I learned very early on that I have a much better eye than hand.

His miniature Picasso ceramics
His miniature Picasso ceramics © Bastian Achard
Still and sparkling water, Pol Roger champagne and non-alcoholic beer in his fridge
Still and sparkling water, Pol Roger champagne and non-alcoholic beer in his fridge © Bastian Achard

In my fridge you will find only water and champagne, as pretentious as that sounds. And that’s honestly it. I don’t cook at all. I lived in my apartment for a year with a full-size refrigerator and I realised it was a huge waste of space, because it had absolutely nothing in it. So I went to the Bowery and got one of those industrial counter-height fridges that I assume most restaurants use to store butter or something. I use mine for water and champagne – Billecart-Salmon Brut.

The designer with his dog Temo
The designer with his dog Temo © Bastian Achard

The thing I couldn’t do without is my dog, Temo. He’s a chihuahua mix who was found on the side of the road in Mexico with a broken spine, so his back two legs don’t work. When I first saw him on the shelter’s Instagram, I thought to myself, he’s so cute, but I decided that if I was at all sorry for him, I wasn’t going to take him on, because a dog definitely doesn’t need somebody who pities them. But he was so energetic, just running around, with basically no clue whatsoever that there was anything wrong with him. Now he scoots around the house dragging his legs, chasing my two cats – and then, when we go out, he has a little wheelchair. He came to Paris with me last year: it was very funny, because I don’t think anyone there had seen a dog in a wheelchair before. It was quite the spectacle. 

An indulgence I would never forgo is ironed sheets. It’s something I’m really, really spoiled about, and quite insistent on having all the time. My grandmother used to do it, and it was always the nicest feeling when you’d crawl into bed and everything was so crisp. I have three animals who sleep in the bed with me, so my sheets get changed three times a week, every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. It’s a very high turnover.

Custom Olatz sheets
Custom Olatz sheets © Bastian Achard
His Yohji Yamamoto coat
His Yohji Yamamoto coat © Bastian Achard

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Yohji Yamamoto coat. It’s really simple: long, black, tailored, in wool and cashmere – quite lovely. I have a lot of Yohji. There are only a few designers that I splurge on, and he’s definitely one of them.

In another life, I would have been an actor. But I’m so shy that doing anything that involves speaking in front of people, or big crowds, makes me super-anxious, so it never seemed like a viable option. Are there parallels with my job? The room has to take on a personality in the same way that you have to approach an acting role, maybe.

Dr Bronner’s liquid soap
Dr Bronner’s liquid soap © Bastian Achard
Scents by Frédéric Malle and Officine Universelle Buly 1803
Scents by Frédéric Malle and Officine Universelle Buly 1803 © Bastian Achard

The beauty or grooming staple I am never without is, first, Dr Bronner’s soap. It’s one of those things that I’ve used for so long now that if I don’t use it, I don’t feel clean. When I got my place in Paris, I had to bring two boxes over, just to make sure I didn’t run out. Second, I usually wear Frédéric Malle fragrance every day. The choice varies: lighter, fresher things during the spring and summer, and darker, cedar, patchouli-based things in the winter. Carnal Flower is my absolute favourite, because it covers both. Dr Bronner’s Pure-Castile Bar Soap, £6.49. Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, £200 for 50ml

An antique silver box of his grandmother’s
An antique silver box of his grandmother’s © Bastian Achard

An object I would never part with is a silver-plated jewellery box that was my grandmother’s, that she gave to my mother, who then gave it to me. My grandmother lived in Washington, DC, and was on a committee for some women’s league type of thing back in the ’50s, and they gave this box to all the members. The US Capitol is engraved on the top, and on the sides are the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian and so on. It’s quite whimsical but elegant, a beautiful thing that reminds me of my grandmother, who was all of those things too. 

I have only one grooming guru. It’s Matty Leone, who cuts my hair. He’s an Italian New Yorker who has a studio space in an office building in Union Square: you walk in, it’s just a chair in the middle of the room, and that’s it. I do talk a lot in the barber’s chair. Probably more than he would like. I think he knows everything about me.

My favourite app is probably still Instagram, as lame as that seems. It’s a constant in my life. If I think back on the relationship I’ve had with it, I’ve made amazing friends I probably would never have made otherwise, and been introduced to different vendors and tradesmen and craftspeople that, again, I wouldn’t have found without it. So as all-consuming as it can be at times, I also think it’s a really beautiful connector of like-minded people.

Bargo’s living room contains works by Louis Eisner, Zach Susskind and Andy Warhol
Bargo’s living room contains works by Louis Eisner, Zach Susskind and Andy Warhol © Bastian Achard

The one artist I would collect if I could is Matisse. Because his work was so whimsical and light-hearted; the colours and the way he would approach things. It feels like something I’d really wanna live with, if I could.

The place that means a lot to me is Paris. New York is definitely home, but the way of life in Paris makes the most sense to me – it’s about style and beauty and enjoying life. I first went there more than 20 years ago, and it was like nothing I had ever really experienced before, especially coming from a small town in Kentucky. Now I have a place there: I try to go once a month, but it usually turns out to be once every other one.

Fabric samples from Sylvie Johnson
Fabric samples from Sylvie Johnson © Bastian Achard

I have recently discovered this amazing textile designer in Paris, Sylvie Johnson. Working in interiors for so long, you are used to the big-name textile houses and everything becomes a bit redundant and repetitive. I was so inspired when I saw her handmade designs because they were so interesting and complex – stuff I’d never seen before. 

My favourite location is the New York restaurant Kappo Masa. Every material used in the space is perfect, the sense of colour too. Larry Gagosian is one of the partners, so there’s an incredible collection that rotates, but it’s usually a Picasso, a Twombly, a Warhol… It’s quite a special experience to a) be in this architecturally stunning space, but then b) be surrounded by these incredible works of art, while you’re c) dining on some of the best sushi. 

The works of art that changed everything for me were in a Cy Twombly show I saw at Gagosian New York. It made me research him a lot more – I started discovering his homes and interiors as well. Now I love looking at artists’ homes: they’re usually the least decorated but somehow the most beautiful, because the artists have such a unique understanding of colour, texture and space.

The best bit of advice I ever received was a quote I heard by Diana Vreeland: “There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.” It’s something I think about frequently. How am I doing at it? Who knows – but so far I feel pretty good. 

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