HTSI editor Jo Ellison
HTSI editor Jo Ellison © Marili Andre

That childhood defines our adult personalities remains the foundation of much psychological wisdom. No less than the Princess of Wales has made the awareness of early-years development her bedrock cause. A whole industry points to how it affects our personalities, our peccadilloes and the way we behave around our peers. This belief also has a bearing on our attitude towards possessions. Look into an avid hoarder and you will often find a child who wasn’t allowed to have a lot of toys, or was born with “nothing”. The cautious spender might have been familiar with hardship; the more profligate one, complacent with his plenty. Our spending habits can be revealing. Do you enjoy the fruits of your labour with expensive gestures? Or are you the kind who puts the pennies by for rainy days?

Kim Jones first started collecting Star Wars figures as a child and his completionist attitude to acquisition has since seen him amassing an illustrious book collection. For our cover story, he invited me to see the Bloomsbury Group books, paintings, works and furniture he has put together, in a series of interviews that took us from the pyramids of Giza to Rodmell, in East Sussex, where he has a property near Virginia Woolf’s former home. We shot him at Charleston house, the “seat” of the 20th-century collective that has become a blueprint for any modern artistic clique. As artistic director of Dior Men, Jones has gathered around him an intense, rebellious set of artists, actors, writers and musicians: in some ways it could be compared to a modern Bloomsbury Group.

A boy with a train set, c1955
A boy with a train set, c1955 © Getty Images

Likewise, the novelist Linwood Barclay observes how the things we become fixated with as adults are often an extension of those we were obsessed with as a child. His obsession, model railways, was nurtured while growing up in Canada, laying down train tracks with his dad. His enthusiasm has since transferred to his own son, who has become a model-maker. He writes about the hobby that has seen him clearing out the basements of numerous homes throughout his lifetime to create a place to rid his mind of life’s distractions, find inspiration and play with little trains.

Dior cotton muslin bra, £1,500, matching shorts, £1,200, and muslin skirt, £4,900. Bottega Veneta gold-plated sterling-silver earrings, POA
Dior cotton muslin bra, £1,500, matching shorts, £1,200, and muslin skirt, £4,900. Bottega Veneta gold-plated sterling-silver earrings, POA © Priscillia Saada
The sitting room at Alice Temperley’s Somerset home
The sitting room at Alice Temperley’s Somerset home © Emli Bendixen

Alice Temperley first conceived her wild bohemian aesthetic as a young child playing on the haystacks at the family’s cider farm. It’s a sensibility she has been honing in the decades ever after, first with her fashion label Temperley and now with the introduction of a debut fabric line. Temperley herself is still driven by her boundless childhood passions, and her enthusiasm and spirit can barely be contained. It all comes together at her Somerset home in a profusion of clashing florals, zebra prints, brocades, disco balls and a menagerie of animals. It’s loud, it’s eccentric, it’s quintessentially English – and as an expression of personality it is unapologetically her own. 


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