Do you have any shopping rituals?
I love sales, vintage stores, markets and serendipity, but I shop very deliberately and slowly. I'll often try something on, go for a coffee, think about it, go back and try it on again, ask a stranger what they think... As a result not even my dearest friends will hit the stores with me.
Please describe your style in three words.
Expressive, sensual, feminine.
What is the biggest mistake one can make when getting dressed?
Obsessing over trends.
Do you believe in role models?
What are your favourite fabrics?
Cashmere, velvet, crêpe de Chine, cotton.
Are there any style combinations that you object to?
Not really—everybody's trying!
Which city has the best-dressed women?
It goes without saying that Parisians are so chic that you can faint from just looking at them. But I also adore the vibrant silks and embellishments seen in Mumbai and Delhi.
Would you say that you are conservative or bold?
Bold—because it's more fun that way. That said, things have calmed down considerably since I was eight years old and wandering up and down the road with tulle petticoats on my head because I thought I looked like a Spanish princess!
What are the rules in the way you dress?
To delight in whatever I'm wearing.
Celebrities and style...
Have become synonymous, which makes the Oscar's red carpet one of the most influential catwalks in the world.
Name one garment/accessory that you can never have enough of?
I totally love dresses. They're feminine, sensual, and the quickest way to get out of the house. And diamonds…I don't know if it's possible to have too many diamonds, but I'm keen to find out.
A woman should always look like…
Who taught you what you know about style?
It started with the grand Hollywood musicals like ‘Singin' in the Rain’, ‘Gigi’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’, so I owe a debt of style gratitude to Marilyn Monroe, Cyd Charisse and co. Shortly after that, I discovered my grandmother's collection of Vogue magazine, which led to a lifelong passion for glossy magazines, all of which have provided wonderful lessons in style. And I've benefitted from the advice of the fashion directors with whom I've been lucky to work with.
How do you select your clothing every morning?
From the shoes up, which is the way I think many women do it. And often by colour, mood and the fantasy in my mind.
What is your biggest regret?
Not much in the way of fashion. This is not to say that I haven't made fashion mistakes, because I certainly have, but because it's not life and death—it's just clothes….
The three essential things a woman should know about style are…
Everything you’ve heard about little black dresses is true. A real investment buy is the piece that makes your heart sing. There's no such thing as ‘one size fits all’, so find a good tailoring service.
We will never see you wearing...
Dungarees, shorts, crop tops, bleached denim, and those insanely clumsy platform heels.
Which new designers do you follow and why?
I revere Elsa Schiaparelli's creativity and verve, so I'm fascinated by the brand's revival.
Who is the most stylish person you have ever seen?
Carine Roitfeld. She looks like the world’s chicest and most beautiful vampire and I simply couldn’t take my eyes off her.
What is the first thing you notice on a woman?
What are the most treasured items in your wardrobe?
Antique diamond rings and a pair of Victorian pinchbeck earrings that were a gift from my mother.
Which designer never fails to impress you?
Miuccia Prada is a total genius.
One article of clothing that a woman needs to pay close attention to is…
Is comfort an enemy of style?
Not for me. Style should have an element of ease and self-induced pain is never attractive.
Who would you like to recommend for My Style?
Albertus Swanepoel, NY milliner.
The best words of advice you have ever heard?
There's too much good advice in the world to choose just one piece, but the one I'm adopting for this year is: 'Make the necessary beautiful and the beautiful necessary'.