‘My style icon is my boyfriend, Jarvis Cocker’: Kim Sion talks taste
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My personal style signifier is a pair of high-waisted trousers, usually from Phoebe Philo-era Céline or Lemaire. They make my legs look longer. I like menswear with a feminine twist.
The last things I bought and loved include a Dawes Cambridge bike in a beautiful plum colour from Fudges on Uxbridge Road – a community hotspot – and a set of four emerald-green Italian dining chairs from Everything But the Dog in Walthamstow.
The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a picture of Tony, my long-haired chihuahua. I managed to convince a signwriter on the outskirts of the Marrakesh medina to paint him. He wasn’t keen at first – he said he wasn’t a dog lover – but when it was finished, he was reluctant to hand it over and said it was one of the best pictures he’d ever done.
My style icons are my boyfriend Jarvis Cocker and Yves Saint Laurent. I think you’ll agree that they’re both quite similar.
No party is complete without a good DJ: Trevor Nelson, Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip or Martin Green. During lockdown, Jarvis and I held a domestic disco on Instagram: thousands of people tuned in. I took care of requests, made Jarvis cocktails and had a little dance – it was a virtual party held every Friday. My party playlist includes “Got to Give It Up” by Marvin Gaye, “Move On Up” by Curtis Mayfield and “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees.
An indulgence I would never forgo is getting a manicure. When I first saw Barbra Streisand’s nails in A Star Is Born, I knew I had to have them. Mine usually feature my own designs and are updated weekly. They’re not ideal for throwing pots but, much to the disbelief of my fellow potters, I’ve managed to overcome that problem. I go to Pristine Nails in Shepherd’s Bush.
The best gifts I’ve given were to Jarvis on his most recent birthday. He got a balloon sculpture from Graham the Balloon Man and two Peter Blake prints from the 3D USA series. I love buying presents, and used to have an online store, A Bag Full of Kim, where I curated a selection of gift items from my travels. The best thing about it was the till-ringing sound my phone made when something sold.
And the best gifts I’ve received are a 1930s diamond ring from Bottazzi Blondeel, my favourite antique jewellery shop in Paris, and a bright pink ceramic Ron Nagle cup – both from Jarvis. I also love the white leather rollerskates with light-up wheels that my daughter [artist Lorena Lohr] gave me.
I have a collection of photography from when I ran an agency called Smile Management. I represented some of the greatest fashion photographers, stylists and art directors – Ellen von Unwerth, Mario Sorrenti, David Sims – and am still very close to many of them. I also collect crystals, which I buy at Venusrox in Notting Hill. I’ve had to slowly wean myself off them: four visits a week was becoming a bit extreme.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is Deborah Levy’s memoir The Cost of Living, which I read in two hours. It felt like she was speaking through me; her relationship with her mother really resonated. I also loved Dance Move, a book of short stories by the Belfast-based author Wendy Erskine. The characterisations are exceptional. Both books were recommended by my new book guru, illustrator Rose Blake.
The podcast I’m listening to is Deepak Chopra’s 21 Days of Abundance, a three-week meditation challenge. Without wittering on too much about my spiritual beliefs, it sets me up for the day and makes me believe that anything is possible.
My favourite drink is a Margarita – and anything mixed by Federico Morosi, the bar manager at Hotel Il Pellicano in Tuscany.
In my fridge you’ll always find Pro-Kolin probiotic paste for Tony, miniature Moroccan bowls filled with leftovers – I hate food waste – and deliveries from Riverford Organic Farmers. Mondays have become “Fundays” due to the arrival of a box of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables.
An object I’d never part with is my black Jaguar, which I bought 20 years ago. It has become my friend – it has witnessed so many emotional periods of my life and never lets me down. It makes me laugh that it’s now considered a classic car; I bought it new from the showroom in Park Royal.
My favourite room in my house is my upstairs living room. It’s painted black and has an air of calmness. I love curling up on my big vintage Edra sofa to watch Antiques Roadshow. [Presenter] Fiona Bruce is beautiful but I would love to give her a makeover. Hopefully, she reads this and my dream will come true.
The last item I added to my wardrobe was a pair of burgundy Loewe Toy mules. I’ve always loved a quirky shoe.
The beauty staples I’m never without are Augustinus Bader’s The Cream, The Face Oil and The Cleansing Balm. Ever since I started using them, I’ve been told how well I look. I’m a bit of a sceptic when it comes to the cosmetic industry, but I ate my words after the first application. Augustinus Bader The Cream, £225 for 50ml; The Face Oil, £195 for 30ml; and The Cleansing Balm, £60 for 90g
I’ve recently discovered tennis at Park Sports, next to Chiswick House, with Isaac, my coach. I’ve always loved tennis. I stick with it to try and convince my mother that my wrists are not floppy, which was always her comment when she came to see me play in tournaments as a child. She still brings it up regularly.
My favourite location is Hope Valley in the Peak District. Everything about this part of England astounds me: the nature, the rolling hills, the shadows of the clouds on the landscape… the cheese toasties. It’s my heaven.
In another life, I would have been a singer. For part of my birthday present Jarvis recorded me singing “Planet Caravan” by Black Sabbath and pressed 100 copies of it. Possibly my only regret is not recording a demo when someone offered to do one for me. Would I be playing the Pyramid Stage Sunday slot at Glastonbury?
The works of art that changed everything for me were Vivienne Westwood’s clothes. I was 17 and working at an advertising agency when a light switch turned on. I realised fashion was the way forward, called up Vivienne’s shop and asked to speak to her. She told me to come and see her immediately, and I worked with her for the next five years as her PA. She changed my life.
The place that means a lot to me is La Colombe d’Or hotel in Saint-Paul de Vence. I’ve been going there for 30 years, and I’ve got to know the wonderful staff and owners very well. It’s the only place where I can sit still. Once I’m inside the gates, I never leave; it’s my safe space.
The thing I couldn’t do without is my morning walk in Chiswick House and Gardens with Tony. We’ve got to know all the dog walkers and dogs, and nothing gives me more joy than hanging out with them and catching up on the gossip, of which there is lots.
The last music I bought was UK Grim by Sleaford Mods. My favourite track is “So Trendy”. I find the lyrics very poignant.
When I need to feel inspired, I go to an exhibition at one of my favourite galleries in London: Sadie Coles, Maureen Paley, White Cube and both Tates. I always forget what a difference it makes.
The best bit of advice I ever received was “never judge a book by its cover”, from my darling grandmother, Thelma Rose, who lived until 106.