Entrepreneur Mandy Madden Kelley talks personal taste
My personal style signifier is a pairing that I like to call a one-two punch. The jab is usually a purse – either a classic quilted Chanel, a Bottega Veneta Cassette, or a Khaite clutch. Then for the knockout, I wear some sort of statement jewellery, usually a necklace. My favourite at the moment is one I designed for Pagerie, The Linque, which was originally intended for pets, but which I began trial-wearing and then never took off. It’s a pear-shaped chain necklace made from stainless steel.
The last thing I bought and loved was a Leica Q2 model camera. I’ve loved photography since high school, but I’ve often found that, as a woman of colour, not all cameras put me in the best light. This is important for people to realise. I’ve found that the Q2 is easy to use for both pictures and videos but also has fantastic image quality and colour rendition.
The places that mean a lot to me are Thailand and the Philippines. I met my husband Kevin [Kelley] in baggage reclaim at LAX, and within two weeks he had invited me on a business trip exploring these countries, and they both ended up touching my soul. I love the 1,000-year-old rituals, handcrafted artwork and spicy food of Thailand. And in the Philippines, I went snorkelling for the first time, in the crystal blue waters of the Secret Lagoon in El Nido, and it was the most meditative, awe-inspiring experience. The formation of coral and fish was incredible.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a painting titled Old Lady from Besao by Waling Gorospe. We found it during our trip to the Philippines at a market. It’s a stunning portrait of a Filipino woman, and she has these beautiful wrinkles on her face. I love the level of detail.
I have a collection of records, from John Coltrane to Billie Holiday to Sérgio Mendes, which I adore and enjoy listening to at the weekend. I’ve been buying records since I lived in New Zealand, where I grew up, and it’s something that I’ve continued doing in my spare time. I have a Symbol Audio Record Player.
The podcast I’m listening to is IdeaCast by the Harvard Business Review. I’m learning so much from it – it’s helping me to be a better mum, a better individual, and a better business leader. I recently listened to an episode on strategies for dealing with procrastination, which I’m sure we all do to some degree on a day-to-day basis.
I’ve recently discovered the power of skincare tools – lately, I’ve been using the jade Sculpting Body Stone from Tata Harper. I use it before the shower to give myself a lymphatic drainage massage.
The last music I downloaded was “Mille Baci” by Saint Privat. I was at a restaurant with my husband and our daughter [Kaia] when it came on, so I Shazamed it, and I’ve been playing it ever since. It brings peace, clarity and inspiration to my mind and soul.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a MasterClass subscription to my husband. It’s a platform that allows you to listen to masters within their fields, whether it is advertising creatives, leaders like Barack Obama, or actors. Kevin is an architect but he loves listening to writers, business people or those who focus on design.
And the best gift I’ve received is my Chanel Coco Crush earrings, which I’ve worn almost every single day for the past two years. My husband gave them to me, and they’ve become part of my uniform. I like to wear things that are timeless.
In my fridge you’ll always find Simply Lemon Drinks, Oatly milk for my morning coffee, and meals from my Organic Oren food subscription. They cook everything for you and deliver your meals at the start of the week, and all you have to do is plate them up and heat. The produce and sauces they use are so fresh and so clean.
The last item I added to my wardrobe is a pair of suede zipped boots by The Row. They go with everything – whether it’s a dress, jeans or a suit – so I feel like they were a good investment.
An object I would never part with is my Ox Chair, originally by Hans J Wegner. I found it at a store in LA, Modernica on Beverly Boulevard, and I didn’t know much about it at the time, but I was really drawn to the design – it has the passion of a bull and a real sense of muscle strength. Fast forward to today, and it’s become a collector’s item.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Basquiat — his paintings speak to the mind of a genius. I’d love to know what was going on in his head while he was working. I recently went to one of his exhibitions at the Broad Museum in downtown LA, and seeing his pieces in real life, they just hit differently for me.
The beauty staples I’m never without are Biologique Recherche’s Masque VIP 02 and Masque Vivant. One is an oxygenating anti-pollution mask; the other is for brightening. I mix them together to use at the same time. I smell hideous, but it’s worth the splurge; they always save me during skincare emergencies. Masque VIP 02, £117 for 100ml; Masque Vivant, £76 for 100ml; libertylondon.com
An indulgence I would never forgo is margherita pizza. I can’t give it up. There’s a place in LA called Vito’s Pizza; it’s just a hole in the wall, but you’re guaranteed the best pizza. You can buy a whole one or just a slice. 846 N. La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069; vitospizza.com
My favourite room in my house is the bathroom – it’s very much my sanctuary. My husband is always fighting to get me out of there, he calls it my “lab”. But it gives me time to pause and appreciate my body as a vessel and how it guides me through life.
My favourite building is the Kaufmann House designed by Richard Neutra in Palm Springs. I love all of Neutra’s Case Study homes; they’re the perfect balance of modernism, but still with this organic flair, because sometimes modernism can feel so brutal.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is Kahlil Gibran’s book of poetry, The Prophet. I keep coming back to it, and it’s become almost like a bible to me. There is not a word that is unnecessary or irrelevant. I always encourage people to read this book slowly, carefully and reflectively.
The works of art that changed everything for me are Constantin Brâncuși’s sculptures. He’s an incredible, elegant artist, originally from Romania, where my mum’s family is from. The sensual shapes he used inspired the pear shape that has become part of the Pagerie brand identity.
When I need to feel inspired, I go into my office, close the door, turn on Radiohead – or else Ennio Morricone soundtracks – and sit on the floor. I pull out my favourite books, patterns and material swatches, and sketch or paint. It’s my best way to unplug, to disconnect from everything.