Buly 1803’s Victoire de Taillac-Touhami: ‘My earrings define how I dress’
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My personal style signifiers are my earrings – they define how I dress. My sister Marie-Hélène de Taillac is a jeweller, so I have a huge collection. My current favourites are a pair of milky quartz squirrels balancing on big gold hoops and eating pearl “nuts”. They’re quite heavy, extremely decorative and have travelled to Japan and Korea with me. €8,350; mariehelenedetaillac.com
The last thing I bought and loved was a tiny Japanese painted porcelain vase that I found in a craft shop in Tokyo. When I was told its function was to collect my tears, I wasn’t sure I liked the idea, but I bought it anyway to add to my personal installation of vases of all shapes and sizes. It’s just big enough to hold a single leaf. £26; Nippon-Ichi, Ground Floor, Takashimaya, Nihombashi, Tokyo
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of men’s brogues in navy blue or black. I’ve been searching for a while in stores such as Church’s and JM Weston, but I’m still not sure exactly which ones I’ll buy. I find men’s shoes way more comfortable than women’s and you can walk in them for ages. church-footwear.com. jmweston.com
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year was Switzerland in summertime. We stayed at 7132 Hotel in Vals, which has thermal baths and rooms designed by architects Thom Mayne, Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Peter Zumthor. My mother and sister have been going there for years and it’s a favourite place of my husband’s when he wants to really relax. We’d only ever been in winter before and I was amazed at the beauty of the fields and flowers. Since I love green, it was paradise for me – even more awe‑inspiring than in snow. +4158‑713 2000; 7132.com
And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are a handpainted ceramic vase that I found for €100 on the Greek island of Milos, and eight dessert plates and dishes, which were €200 at an antiques fair in Parma. I love collecting porcelain.
In my fridge, you’ll always find raw milk, butter and a host of open jars – it’s a family fridge as I have three children, ranging in age from 10 to 15. There’s the inevitable supply of vegetable broth that I cook every weekend. I’ll also have Drappier champagne and a sweet white wine such as Gewürtztraminer. champagne-drappier.com
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a bright blue cashmere sweater by Tokyo label Beams that, as well as menswear, makes clothing with a masculine edge for women under the moniker Beams Boy. Unlike more conservative Europe, the Japanese have amazing colour sense, which I admire. For me, colour brings energy, especially if I’m jet-lagged. Besides, blue suits me. 1F 3-24-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8510 (+813-5770 5550; beams.co.jp)
My favourite space in my house is my balcony. It’s not huge, but it’s a place where I experiment and work. Our apartment is near Le Bon Marché in Paris’s 7th and has stunning views of the Eiffel Tower and Les Invalides.
A recent “find” is Ying Jee Club, a very good restaurant in Hong Kong that makes delicious mushroom and pumpkin dim sum and fabulous mango sago soup. Shop GO5, 107-108 Nexxus Building, 41 Connaught Road, Central (+852-2801 6882).
My style icon is my husband, Ramdane Touhami. He never stops experimenting, which makes him quite challenging to live with. Style is self-expression and it was his playful clothes sense that first attracted me to him. In the time we’ve lived together, he has been through many different stages. When he gets bored, I get lucky, as I inherit the clothes he no longer loves. We’re the same height and the same size, more or less, and have the same taste in coats, which is very convenient.
The best gift I’ve given recently was artisanal neroli water that cost around €5 a bottle from a stall in the Souk El Tayeb in Beirut, which I brought back for my best friend and sisters. I like fresh, natural, uplifting scents and love tracking down local cosmetics wherever I am in the world.
And the best gift I’ve received recently was an amazing skirt by the Japanese label Kolor. It’s a fabulous mash-up of contrasting prints and fabrics – some Scandinavian-type wool, others like Hermès silk scarves. My husband found it. I have a huge collection of skirts and prefer volume and movement to tight, restrictive shapes, so this is perfect. kolor.jp and see farfetch.com and harrods.com
The last music I downloaded… well, I don’t listen a lot to music. I prefer silence or the natural sounds of my family, traffic or birdsong around me.
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Shangri-La’s Secret in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, which specialises in mushroom shabu shabu. A hot broth arrives at your table with a huge selection of different mushrooms, vegetables and chicken on the side that you add according to your taste and leave to cook for seven minutes. There were six of us and it was fascinating to taste the differences in each of our broths. 4-11-11 Roppongi GM Building 4F, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032 (+813-6804 5095; ikyu.com)
The book I’d recommend to a friend is one I wrote with my husband: An Atlas of Natural Beauty. Researching it was a labour of love – I’m a huge admirer of traditional remedies and rituals and their positive effects on our looks and wellbeing. I’ve also been reading a biography of the French actress Sarah Bernhardt. She was muse to Alphonse Mucha and appeared in much of his turn-of-the-20th-century poster work. After seeing the Mucha exhibition at the Musée du Luxembourg, I was inspired to find out more about her life and powerful personality. Alphonse Mucha at the Musée du Luxembourg (until 27 January 2019), 19 Rue de Vaugirard, 75006 Paris (+331-4013 6200; museeduluxembourg.fr). An Atlas of Natural Beauty: Botanical Ingredients for Retaining and Enhancing Beauty by Victoire de Taillac-Touhami and Ramdane Touhami, €20; buly1803.com. Sarah Bernhardt by Sophie-Aude Picon, £16; gallimard.fr
An indulgence I would never forgo is chocolate. Alain Ducasse’s chocolate almonds are a particular pleasure. lechocolat-alainducasse.com and see Coal Drops Yard, Unit 15, Bagley Walk Arches, Coal Drops Yard, London N1 (coaldropsyard.com)
An object I would never part with is a simple black and white print that our American artist friend Geoff McFetridge gave us as a wedding present. It’s of a man and a woman drawing each other. When we went to live in Tokyo for a year, it was one of the things I took with me.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Shibuya-Ku in Tokyo. The shops there are so well done, with specialist stores and vast selections – I always see something that I’ll never see anywhere else. I’ll go to interiors store D & Department’s Shibuya Hikarie for its made-in-Japan range and excellent café and bar; and we’ll visit Wego for our kids, who are obsessed with the vast choice of fashion and jewellery on offer there. Then there’s the legendary Daikanyama T-Site bookstore for books, magazines and coffee – it’s the perfect place to be if you’re jet-lagged and always seems to be open. Daikanyama T-Site, 17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-Ku, 150-0033 (+813-3770 2525). Shibuya Hikarie, 2-21-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-Ku, 150-8510 (+813-5468 5892; hikarie.jp). Wego, wego.jp
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are the staff at Buchinger Wilhelmi, near Lake Constance in Germany, where I go to fast. If you have a complete break from rich food, drink and coffee for seven days, you feel much, much better. I also walk when I’m there – it has the same effect as meditation for me. It’s something I got into when we lived in Japan, where the only things open in the morning between the school drop and the office were either temples or gardens. If I can, I try to walk at least once or twice a week. Wilhelm-Beck-Strasse 27, Überlingen 88662, Lake Constance (+4975-518 070; buchinger-wilhelmi.com)
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Sofu Teshigahara, the sculptor who founded Japan’s famous Sogetsu School of Ikebana flower arranging in the 1920s and who was also awarded the Légion d’Honneur. He worked not only with flowers, but also with a variety of other materials and objects. Obviously, I can’t own his original work, but a picture would do nicely.
The beauty staple I’m never without is my Buly 1803 Raspberry Seed Oil, which is the best daily treatment for my jet-lagged, dry skin. I have a minimalist’s beauty routine, never wear make-up and rarely go to the hairdresser, although I do like Christophe Robin’s haircare range. And soaking in a bath of Epsom salts is a compulsory detox after an arduous day. Buly 1803 Raspberry Seed Oil, €55 for 50ml; buly1803.com. Christophe Robin haircare, from €16 for a shampoo bar; christophe-robin.com
If I didn’t live in Paris, I would live in Auch in Gascony in order to embrace country life and swim year-round in the lake close to my family’s château. Gascony is gastro-paradise, so I’d go to the Thursday market in the lower town for the best local produce in Occitanie and get amazing bread from La Ferme à Naroques. For an intellectual feast, I’d browse the superb selection of art and design books in Les Petits Papiers. For eating out, I love Le Florida in Castéra-Verduzan, a picturesque village famous for its thermal waters. The restaurant serves classic Gascon cuisine and I always have foie gras when I visit. La Ferme à Naroques, naroques.fr. Le Florida, 2 Rue du Lac, 32410 Castéra-Verduzan (+0562-681 322; restaurant-florida.fr). Les Petits Papiers, 22 Rue Dessoles, 32000 Auch (+0562-593 810; lespetitspapiers.org)
If I weren’t doing what I do now, I would be a gardener. My dream is that at some point we’ll buy some land and plant an orchard. I love to be outside, and growing things is a sensual, creative process. Even failures are rewarding as you learn from your mistakes.