Shoe designer Gianvito Rossi on Paul Newman, shopping in downtown New York and endurance car racing
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My personal style signifier is a pair of black double-monkstrap shoes that I had made by Church’s, which remains a traditional Northampton shoemaker even though now owned by Prada. I love the way British shoes balance elegance and masculinity.
The book on my bedside table is Atonement by Ian McEwan – I’m very touched by the idea of exploring how we take responsibility for our actions in life and their consequences.
The last music I downloaded was Blitz by Digitalism; I like the electro sound.
The sight that inspires me is always a sea view. I grew up on the coast, so being close to the sea is important to me – it spurs my imagination and is an infinite blue backdrop to my dreams. My favourite examples are the Kornati archipelago in Croatia, which is not that far by boat from my home in Rimini and is great for cruising as it’s protected by the outer islands, and the beaches around Panarea in the Aeolian islands.
In my fridge you’ll always find smoked salmon and Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004 sparkling white wine – it’s one of the best and I find it goes well with the fish – plus fresh pasta and ripe tomatoes. Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore 2004, £69.50 per 750ml bottle; www.winedirect.co.uk.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a bespoke two-button Berluti suit from Milan, in deep blue. I like Berluti’s attention to detail and how tradition is mixed with modernity. I prefer the label’s clothes to its shoes. €6,500; www.berluti.com.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Boccioni. Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio is my all‑time favourite piece of art. His sculptures represent movement and a projection of the mind into a different space and dimension.
My favourite room in my house is my living room, which contains a happy combination of old and new furniture. I enjoy reading on my sofa, designed by Vico Magistretti for De Padova. It’s paired with a Fiorenza armchair, designed by Franco Albini for Arflex in 1952.
The grooming staple I’m never without is my scent, Comme des Garçons 2, which is fresh with a little bit of spice. £62 for 50ml EDP; www.doverstreetmarket.com.
An indulgence I would never forgo is taking time for myself in the garden of my country house, which was originally bought by my mother for its view of the sea and San Marino, between Emilia-Romagna and Marche – I sit and reflect with a cigar and a glass of armagnac.
And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are shearling-lined Canadian trapper hats by Nathaniel Cole for my sons, which were very well received. From C$140; www.crowncap.com.
My favourite websites belong to auction houses – I always enjoy browsing on the Christie’s or Sotheby’s sites. The poster auctions are divine but I have yet to bid – I just find it exciting to see what is going on. It’s difficult to bid in real time because I’m always travelling. www.christies.com. www.sothebys.com.
My style icon is Paul Newman, who had a fantastic combination of elegance and wildness that I would love to emulate.
A recent “find” is Lo Scoglio restaurant in Nerano on the Amalfi coast, on a pier over the water; the spaghetti with yellow tomatoes is delicious. Piazza delle Sirene 15 (+39081-808 1026; www.hotelloscoglio.com).
The last meal that truly impressed me was a special dinner hosted in Forlimpopoli by Casa Artusi, which was founded in the name of cultured gastronome and writer Pellegrino Artusi. The team follows his traditions, combining traditional recipes from Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany in a very sophisticated way. We ate the first truffles of the season with pasta and veal, along with a beautiful barbaresco wine. www.casartusi.it
If I didn’t live in Milan, the city I would live in is Rome, which I find simply the most beautiful city in the world. It is as layered as its history – I love to walk from the extraordinary, ancient Pantheon and the beautiful Piazza Navona to Trattoria al Moro, a dolce vita favourite with excellent food. It’s very close to the Trevi Fountain, which is worth seeing again now that Fendi has done such an amazing job of restoring it. I also love browsing in Galleria O or the Alessandra Di Castro antiques gallery, and going to Trastevere for lunch at the Michelin‑starred Glass Hostaria. Alessandra Di Castro, Piazza di Spagna 4 (+3906-6992 3127; www.alessandradicastro.com). Galleria O Roma, Via dell’Arancio 46-49 (+3906-8976 0540; www.galleriao.net). Glass Hostaria, Vicolo del Cinque 58 (+3906-5833 5903; https://glasshostaria.it). Trattoria al Moro, Vicolo Delle Bollette 13 (+3906-678 3495; www.ristorantealmororoma.com).
An object I would never part with is my black Moleskine notebook. I am inspired at any moment by all sorts of things; I need it so that I am always ready for the next sketch. www.moleskine.com.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a little Modigliani sketch that someone tracked down for me. He was a prolific producer, so they are not as rare as you might expect.
And the best one I’ve received recently is an Emilio Vedova artwork, very modern and elegant, that my wife gave me. She knows I love this style of modern Italian art.
The person I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing is my daughter Sofia. I am very traditional and low maintenance, but love to have the styling advice of a smart 19-year-old with a different perception and aesthetic.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose downtown New York. I always enjoy picking up some new books from Taschen and then I go to James Perse for good quality, casual essentials and Kirna Zabête to buy gifts for my daughter. In SoHo, I pop into Balthazar for breakfast and enjoy dinner at The Beatrice Inn, a few blocks away. I like to see how things are always changing there – even on a short stroll I will discover something new. Balthazar, 80 Spring Street (+1212-965 1414; www.balthazarny.com). The Beatrice Inn, 285 West 12th Street (+1917-566 7400; www.thebeatriceinn.com). James Perse, 1128 Madison Avenue (+1917-267 7264; www.jamesperse.com). Kirna Zabête, 477 Broome Street (+1212-941 9656; www.kirnazabete.com). Taschen, 107 Greene Street (+1212-226 2212; www.taschen.com).
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be an endurance-race driver. I really couldn’t live without car racing on the Nürburgring track in Germany. I drive a racing version of the Carrera four or five times a year in endurance events – one is 24 hours long. We are an international team of amateurs, but up to 300,000 people attend the events and there’s always a festive atmosphere. www.nuerburgring.de.