Art maven Dominique Lévy: ‘I have the key to energy and vitality’
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My personal style signifier is a piece of jewellery – a wearable sculpture, really – from my grandmother, by the artist César, to whom she was very close. It’s made of family heirlooms – gold and pearls – that were melted down and compressed into an amulet I wear as a necklace. It is the essence of my hero – my grandmother – and a whole life story in one accessory. I wear it to every art fair and opening.
The last thing I bought and loved was a ceramic piece, Löffelobjekt, by the artist Beate Kuhn. It has beautiful flux and movement and I was lucky to find it as her works are quite rare. Jason Jacques Gallery, 29 East 73rd Street #1, New York, NY 10021 (jasonjacques.com)
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a thick cashmere sweater bearing the slogan “Meditate” by California-based label The Elder Statesman. I like the story behind this maker and also that it’s in the bold colours of the flag of my birthplace, Switzerland. $1,555; elder-statesman.com
And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are stones from the beach on Antiparos in Greece. I collect stones wherever I go, but these are in shades of pink and white and subtle green. I keep them in vases in my office as well as in my Hamptons home, and I am constantly adding to and editing my collection.
The last thing I added to my wardrobe was an Etro trouser suit in petrol-coloured velvet. My 16-year-old son picked it out, and the bluish colour and wide-leg pants give it a very cool 1970s vibe that’s perfect for a night out. etro.com
The best gift I’ve given recently was a 24ct- gold bangle by jeweller Aurora Lopez Mejia to someone special. Her bracelets are very personal, made up of significant numbers and letters, which make her pieces one of a kind and very meaningful. From $18,000; auroralopezmejia.com
The indulgences I would never forgo are very dark chocolate and Japanese whisky – but not necessarily together! Villars from Switzerland is my chocolate of choice; it’s made without added sugar and I like to snack on it throughout the day. In terms of whisky, I love Hibiki, which combines subtle woody and sweet flavours. Hibiki, £64.95 for 70cl; thewhiskyexchange.com. Villars, about £2.50 for 100g; villars.com
A recent “find” is La Mercerie in SoHo in New York – a very special “eating and shopping” environment overseen by a wonderful French chef. The food is delicious and the atmosphere feels like being in someone’s home. After a recent meal I bought a fabulous set of placemats. It all feels like Paris meets Amsterdam, but in New York. 53 Howard Street, New York, NY 10013 (lamerceriecafe.com)
My favourite room in my house is my dining room. I can be en famille or entertaining 20 and it always feels cosy. The sculptural centrepiece is a table with bronze feet by artist Alma Allen that I commissioned for this room. And a handblown chandelier by glass artist Jeff Zimmerman just makes the whole space work.
My style icon is Inès de la Fressange. I admire her elegant, feminine style – one that’s never too girly-girly. It’s a classic and simple look, yet bold at the same time. I also love the way she uses white shirts to great effect.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Mnemba Island, off Zanzibar. It’s a tiny, secluded atoll with just 12 beachside bungalows and everything is very free-floating. I was surrounded by nothing but coral, dolphins and the sounds of the Indian Ocean – it made for the perfect romantic getaway. From $1,270 a night per person sharing; andbeyond.com
The last music I downloaded was Niall Horan’s Slow Hands. I love all kinds of music – but never anything harsh – so I Shazamed this bluesy pop song, and it’s been a great addition to my Bach-heavy playlist.
In my fridge you’ll always find fresh ginger. I think it’s the key to energy and vitality, and I put it in everything from my morning green juice to teas. I also always have almond milk on hand for my breakfast cereal.
The person I rely on for personal wellbeing is my hairstylist Idan at the Valery Joseph salon on Madison Avenue who is a unique stylist; he has a real eye and is a true creative. 1044 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10075 (valeryjoseph.com)
The last meal that truly impressed me was at Sushi Noz in New York. It’s an eight-seat place with an authentic 19th- century Japanese Hinoki counter, and the entire omakase presentation was just perfection. The cedarwood finishes and subtle lighting set the stage for chef Noz’s memorable yellowtail sashimi and other small, flavoursome plates. 181 East 78th Street, New York, NY 10075 (sushinoz.com)
The book I’d recommend to a friend is John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara. The Irish poet- philosopher is so full of wisdom and I love that you can open this book and delve into it at any point. A few of the main takeaways are to really listen, to be wholehearted and the importance of friendship.
An object I would never part with is a light-string installation called Last Light by the artist Félix González Torres. I purchased it in the mid-1990s and it was one of the first pieces in my collection. I move it around my apartment frequently, but it always occupies a prominent place.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose the 6th arrondissement in Paris. One of my favourite places is Shang Xia, a simple, almost Hermès-like boutique designed by the architect Kengo Kuma. They stock the most exquisite cashmere and lacquerware. Galerie Kreo is a must for contemporary art. I visit Cire Trudon for candles – I love the fresh green scent of the Pondicherry – and Buly 1803 for beautifully packaged grooming products and cosmetics. Buly 1803, 6 Rue Bonaparte, 75006 (buly1803.com). Cire Trudon Pondicherry candle, £70 at Liberty (libertylondon.com); Cire Trudon, 78 Rue de Seine, 75006 (trudon.com). Galerie Kreo, 31 Rue Dauphine, 75006 (galeriekreo.com). Shang Xia, 8 Rue des Sèvres, 75006 (shang-xia.com)
The beauty products I’m never without are Ambre Sultan perfume by Serge Lutens and some little artisanal herbal soaps that I buy in Mougins each summer. I don’t know the maker, but I buy enough of them every time I’m there so that they’ll last throughout the year. I even cut them into small pieces for travel. £110 for 50ml; sergelutens.com
The best gift I’ve received recently was a handwritten note from my son, Solal, who is eight. It reads simply, “I love you more than infinity,” and I treasure it.
If I didn’t live in New York, the city I would live in is Madrid. It has a “European elegance meets the Far East” vibe – very southern yet sophisticated at the same time, and I always feel at home there. From the El Greco room at the Prado Museum to walks in the Royal Botanical Gardens, there is beauty at every turn. The food is wonderful too: the tapas bars within the Mercado de San Miguel and the creative Restaurante Viridiana near the Parque de Retiro, which serves delicious gazpacho and grilled seafood in a warm setting. All of this, followed by flamenco at Casa Patas, makes it a very special city. Casa Patas, Calle Cañizares 10, 28012 (casapatas.com). Mercado de San Miguel, Plaza de San Miguel, 28005 (mercadodesanmiguel.es). Prado Museum, Paseo del Prado, 28014 (museodelprado.es). Restaurante Viridiana, Calle Juan de Mena 14, 28014 (restauranteviridiana.com). Royal Botanical Garden, Plaza de Murillo 2, 28014 (rjb.csic.es)
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Paul Cézanne, specifically his later paintings. The freedom in the brushstrokes from his work of this period – and particularly in his landscapes – is powerful and a bit risqué at the same time.
My favourite websites are primarily news ones and I’ll check the FT, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times before I go to bed. And Artnet is an excellent resource for contemporary art. artnet.com. ft.com. nytimes.com. wsj.com
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a potter. I’ve always collected pottery, and about five years ago I started throwing clay myself. I feel like I’ve found my true passion.
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