With the notable exception of Gilbert & George (“Music is the enemy”), Aesthete interviewees are generally excited to share their musical discoveries with HTSI. From James Blake and Ryuichi Sakamoto to old favourites like Siouxsie and the Banshees, the choices are both discerning and disarming.

Mimi Xu at home in London, wearing a pair of her favourite chunky shoes
Mimi Xu at home in London, wearing a pair of her favourite chunky shoes © Guy Bolongaro

Mimi Xu, composer, producer and DJ

Artist: Tan Dun

“The last music I downloaded explains my scattered brain. One song is called ‘Whoop!’ by R Can & Sonic Noise. I heard it at a party; it’s a kind of techno dancehall track. It’s so good, so spontaneous. And then I downloaded a piece of music by Tan Dun, who wrote the score for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Last year I went to a concert of his at the Philharmonie Luxembourg where he did ‘The Firebird’ by Stravinsky and then his own composition, incorporating iPhones. He got everyone in the audience to download a track of birdsong and conducted all of us playing it on our phones, then went into his symphonic piece. It was just beautiful.”

Mimi Xu: “I don’t queue for nightclubs, but I’ll queue for food.”

Solange Azagury-Partridge, jewellery designer

Track: “Like Sugar” by Chaka Khan

“My world is generally quite silent as I don’t like sound when I work or when I rest. So I rely on my husband Muz [Murray Partridge] to know what to play to get me on my feet. When he puts on songs like Chaka Khan’s ‘Like Sugar’ he knows I’m going to start dancing.”

Solange Azagury-Partridge: “Being glossy takes too much time!”

Courtney Love in her London home
Courtney Love in her London home © Laurence Ellis

Courtney Love, musician

Track: “Bonjour Cava” by Shaybo, feat. Miss Lafamilia

“I’ve got really into UK female drill. I love that there’s all these female protagonists in hip-hop now. When I started, there just wasn’t that much for me to really glom on to. The last one that I bought is “Bonjour Cava” featuring Miss Lafamilia by Shaybo with her rapping in French and Yoruba and English. The musical aesthetic of drill is like Joy Division, sevenths. The drill that I like is British south London chick drill. And the last great band I saw was Picture Parlour at the Windmill in London’s Soho.”

Courtney Love: “I went through 280 macarons last week”

Michael Chow, Restaurateur and artist

Album: Once Upon a Time in the West by Ennio Morricone

“I love the whole soundtrack, but especially the sequence where Claudia Cardinale appears. It’s a masterpiece, an incredible entrance scene – and the music is so romantic.”

“I love namedropping”: Michael Chow

Dandy Wellington at home in New York
Dandy Wellington at home in New York © Timothy O’Connell

Dandy Wellington, bandleader and vintage style activist

Track: “Opus One” by The Mills Brothers

“This great little song was composed in 1943 and there’s not much to it, but it’s a case in point of The Mills Brothers’ greatness. The lyrics are very much in the vein of what you hear in hip-hop from the ’70s forward, which is basically references [to other artists].”

Dandy Wellington: “Hats are the ultimate form of self-expression”

Remo Ruffini, chairman and chief executive of Moncler

Track: “Time Lapse” by Michael Nyman

“The last music I downloaded was Satie’s ‘Gnossienne No 1’, performed by Kid Francescoli. My favourite piece ever, though, is Michael Nyman’s ‘Time Lapse’ – a sort of a theme tune for me. I played it the day Moncler was listed on the Italian stock exchange, in Milan. It’s always the soundtrack to the most important moments of the company.”

Moncler chief Remo Ruffini talks taste

Tschabalala Self at home in Hudson, NY
Tschabalala Self at home in Hudson, NY © Elliott Jerome Brown Jr

Tschabalala Self, artist

Artist: Corbin Canvas

“The last music I downloaded was songs by Corbin Canvas. My favourites are ‘Function’ and ‘Milk & Honey’. I’ve been listening to a lot of contemporary neo-soul lately. I found these artists when I was searching for a fresh but nostalgic sound for the studio.”

Artist Tschabalala Self: “I tend to be a bit nosy”

Corin Mellor, creative director of David Mellor Design

Band: X-Ray Spex

“The last music I downloaded was by X-Ray Spex. I watched what I thought was the most fascinating film called Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché, about the band’s lead singer. It took me back to my childhood, to when punk rock was emerging. I’ve been listening to the band ever since.”

Corin Mellor on why “the best designs come naturally”

Tom Broughton, founder of eyewear brand Cubitts

Album: Friends That Break Your Heart by James Blake

“I usually just go wherever the Spotify algorithm takes me – I’m like a rat in a maze being fed opium. This is the first time in months I’ve consciously clicked on an album and played it from start to finish. It’s classic Blake – full of distorted harmonies, voices and samples. Though he might not see himself this way, I consider him a really great folk musician.”

Cubitts’ Tom Broughton: “My obsession with Isokon furniture is dangerous.”

Designer Walter Van Beirendonck with his collection of masks and figures from Mali
Designer Walter Van Beirendonck with his collection of masks and figures from Mali © Kevin Faingnaert

Walter Van Beirendonck, fashion designer

Album: Metal Machine Music by Lou Reed

“I’ve recently rediscovered my collection of vinyl. It’s such a different experience to listen to music by taking the disc out of the sleeve and then turning it over once you’ve played one side. It is evocative of my life as a teenager. I’ve been listening to Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, his industrial-noise record from the mid-’70s. You can’t really listen to it as music. It’s just a concept.”

“I absolutely deserve waffles”: Walter Van Beirendonck talks taste

Harry Lambert, stylist

Harry’s House, by Harry Styles
Harry’s House, by Harry Styles

Album: Harry’s House by Harry Styles

“I’ve been working with Harry Styles for nine years, styling his looks, including the album cover for this release; on it he’s wearing a cream linen blouse, oversized denim jeans and white ballet pumps by Molly Goddard. I’m a big fan of his music and I love this album so much – we play it a lot in the studio, learning all the words for his performances. My earliest fashion memory is watching Madonna’s music videos on VHS as a child. I used to be obsessed with the ‘Like a Prayer’ video, and loved watching her dancing around in that minimal slip dress. Fashion has such an important role to play in creating those moments; they were as iconic as art.

Harry Lambert, the man behind Harry Styles’ wardrobe, talks taste

Jonathan Saunders, fashion designer

Band: Khruangbin

“I discovered this band from Texas watching Glastonbury live. They looked and sounded incredible – masters of the guitar. Towards the end of their performance they started to play riffs on ’90s house tracks, done through the eyes of this alternative rock band, which I loved.”

Jonathan Saunders: “Whatever you do, do it to the nth degree.”

Dancer and choreographer Léo Walk at home in Paris
Dancer and choreographer Léo Walk at home in Paris © Alex Crétey Systermans

Léo Walk, dancer and choreographer

Track: “#20” by Aphex Twin

“Last year I did a one-week residency, staying in a beautiful house in the south of France called La Villa Galaxie. Every morning, I got up and listened to this music in the middle of the forest that surrounds the house. It was like being in a parallel universe.”

Dancer and choreographer Léo Walk talks taste

Vincent Van Duysen, architect and designer

Album: 12 by Ryuichi Sakamoto 

“Sakamoto died this year, and so this is his farewell album, but I’ve listened to his music for many years. It goes from pure instrumental piano to collaborations with Brazilian vocal artists and film scores.”

Architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen talks taste

Jung Lee at home in New York
Jung Lee at home in New York © Timothy O’Connell

Jung Lee, party planner

Album: Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd by Lana del Rey

“This album has a really cinematic sound. [When party planning] I also listen to mixes from the DJs that I work with – hip-hop, jazz… basically anything but country music. The best music to get people moving has to appeal to several generations. Start old-school and turn it into a dance party. A great party should transform over time. At a recent State Dinner at the White House, we finished with jazz musician Jon Batiste, who brought a playful element to the night. Everyone got out on the dancefloor, regardless of what language they spoke.”

White House party planner Jung Lee talks taste

Stefan Brüggemann, artist

Track: “Sweetest Chill” by Siouxsie and the Banshees

“I’ve always loved that band and I’ve heard they’re going to release a new album soon. I hadn’t heard that song in so long. It transported me to when I was working very hard to try to get to London so that I could come and explore this new idea that was the punk movement.”

Multidisciplinary artist Stefan Brüggemann talks taste

Liz Lambert, hotelier and designer

Album: Yesterday’s News by Robert Ellis

“He’s an absolutely masterful guitar player from Fort Worth, Texas, with a beautiful voice that combines elements of folk and jazz – kind of like Chet Baker.”

Hotelier and designer Liz Lambert talks taste

Mai Ikuzawa at home in Chamonix
Mai Ikuzawa at home in Chamonix © Nick Meek

Mai Ikusawa, automotive and action sports brand consultant

Band: The Wild Bunch

“The last music I downloaded was by this loose collective of English musicians and DJs based in Bristol. They were the beginning of trip hop and a truly rich era of creative music that you feel in your spine when clubbing.”

Japanese racing royalty Mai Ikusawa’s black book of style

Jessica Bell Brown, curator for contemporary art at the Baltimore Museum of Art

Album: Masego by Masego

“The last music I downloaded was by Masego. His new album has been on repeat in my household; it’s wonderful. He’s a brilliant multi-instrumentalist and also sings, so it’s a little bit of jazz and a little bit of R&B. It’s just very smooth, easy and fun to listen to.”

Curator Jessica Bell Brown talks taste

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