Delvaux’s Christina Zeller on the wit of Audrey Hepburn, the modern romance of Valentino and her Carlos Mata horse sculpture
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My personal style signifier is a stack of engraved gold Buccellati bracelets. They are beautifully crafted yet understated: the fine rigato lines feel like silk, with the same sheen. I also have a wide cuff, designed by my late husband, an architect, which Buccellati made for me. From £6,200; buccellati.com
The last thing I bought and loved was a Serpenti watch by Bulgari, with five twists up the arm. I loved it when it first came out in gold, with a semiprecious stone dial, but mine is in the newer steel – it’s still like a piece of jewellery but it’s a little bit “rock” too, which I enjoy. £11,200; bulgari.com
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of Balenciaga’s hot-pink cuissardes. They look very refined and remind me of the wonderful bright satins used by Christian Lacroix when I worked for him. I’ve always loved over-the-knee boots and buy a new pair each year to wear with longer skirts that have a split. They used to be provocative, but now fashion has caught up with me and they can be worn anywhere. £885; balenciaga.com
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a Céline jumpsuit with a white shirt-style top and elegant black trouser bottoms. I often wear a white shirt and black trousers, so now I have both in one. £2,150; celine.com
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Lamu, off the Kenyan coast, where I have a small house. It’s where I go to detox – there are no cars and very little WiFi – and I never have to dress up; I just live in kikois. It’s beautiful there and the people have a very positive energy. I always come back revitalised.
The beauty staple I’m never without is Chanel Cristalle, which I have loved and worn since I was 18; I still feel it expresses my personality. Christian Lacroix used to say he knew when I’d arrived because of the waft of Cristalle in the air. From £50 for 60ml EDT; chanel.com
The last meal that truly impressed me was a family dinner for my birthday and my niece’s graduation, cooked by Jean-Pierre Vigato at Apicius in Paris – he is extraordinary. The millefeuille of meat and caviar was incredible and the atmosphere relaxed – like being at home yet very special. 20 Rue d’Artois, 75008 Paris (+331‑4380 1966; restaurant-apicius.com)
A recent “find” is the work of Mafalda von Hessen, a designer whose collaborator is my friend Eric Wright, who used to be Karl Lagerfeld’s assistant and introduced me to her. The designs are practical but beautiful – influenced a little by military tailoring, a touch utilitarian and made in Naples.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Magritte. I find his art poetic, and there is always a touch of self-derision and humour – even in his darker pieces.
The people I rely on for personal grooming are Alexandre de Paris for hair – I know it’s old-fashioned but they do the best up-dos in the city. And the therapists in the Tata Harper treatment room at Le Bristol hotel spa: I love their organic skincare products. alexandredeparis-coiffure.com. Le Bristol, oetkercollection.com/le-bristol-paris
If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is Hong Kong. I find the energy that comes from the mix of east and west in the pursuit of business very exciting. I think The Peninsula is one of the world’s greatest hotels, with impeccable service; the Opera House is an incredible piece of modern architecture; and The Landmark is an unusually good shopping mall. And the markets, where they sell strange things in jars for Chinese medicine, are fascinating. Hong Kong Opera House, operahongkong.org. The Landmark, landmark.hk. The Peninsula, peninsula.com
My favourite website is PopMyDay.com, which finds you a specialist practitioner to do your hair, a facial or make-up at your home [in Paris], at short notice.
My style icon is Audrey Hepburn. She always looked so elegant yet modern, and her wit and intelligence were obvious – it sparkles through all her films.
In my fridge you’ll always find my favourite champagne, Ruinart; La Vache qui Rit cheese – I know it’s really for kids but I love it; smoked salmon, which goes well with the cheese; and fresh pasta – all the ingredients for a quick meal.
An object I would never part with is a big bronze horse sculpture by Carlos Mata. It moves with me wherever I live and happens to look great in my house in Paris. I understand his work is worth far more than when I bought this piece, but I don’t plan on selling it.
My favourite room in my house is the garden, which is like an outside room. I am very lucky to have a green space in the city. My late husband designed it, inspired by the Belgian landscape designer Jacques Wirtz – it’s mainly greenery with rounded, wave-like shapes. wirtznv.be
The item in my wardrobe I’ll keep to pass on is a long, all-sequin dress from the early-1980s. It’s by Karl Lagerfeld – I used to work with him – and has colourful patches in a Kazimir Malevich print. My daughter likes to pinch my clothes; she has worn it a few times and thinks she should have it, but I’ve lost weight recently and might be able to wear it again, so she will have to wait.
The last album I bought was The Wrong Kind of War by the French singer Imany. I love her voice – it’s strong and very individual, unlike so much music today.
The best gift I’ve given recently was some eye drops, to an old man in the village in Lamu [off Kenya] where I have a house. He had a long-term problem that caused him great pain, but he couldn’t afford treatment. They have made a huge difference to his life.
And the best one I’ve received recently is a unique ring in bronze and pearls, designed by artist Nathalie Dmitrovic, which my present husband found at the Ibu Gallery in Paris. 166 Galerie de Valois, Jardins du Palais Royal, 75001 Paris (+331-4260 0641; ibugallery.fr)
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Avenue Montaigne in Paris. I find it quieter and less crowded than Rue Saint-Honoré. I can go to all my favourite brands in a small space and be very quick, because I’ve done my research. My favourite is Céline: my contact there knows me well and calls me when something comes in that she thinks might suit me. I also like the modern romance of Valentino, the pure lines of Jil Sander and the quirkiness of Fendi, all in close proximity. Céline, 53 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4070 0703; celine.com). Fendi, 51 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4952 8452; fendi.com). Jil Sander, 56 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4495 0670; jilsander.com). Valentino, 17/19 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 (+331-4723 6461; valentino.com)
The best souvenir I’ve brought home recently is a wonderful wide choker of beads made by the Masai who have settled in Lamu, making jewellery for tourists. I asked them to make it wider and use soft nylon thread rather than metal, but I left the colours to them.
An indulgence I would never forgo is the time and effort it takes to look stylish. I am representing a stylish brand, and the least I can do is live up to it. And besides, I enjoy it.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a jewellery designer. I love stones and metal, and the idea of learning to work with them is thrilling – but it takes an extremely long time to master.