Flowerbx founder Whitney Bromberg Hawkings on jumpsuits, the timeless art of Robert Motherwell and weekends in the Cotswolds
Simply sign up to the Style myFT Digest -- delivered directly to your inbox.
My personal style signifier is a pair of gold chain-link bangles that Tom Ford, who I worked with for many years, gave me for my 30th birthday. I wear them almost all the time. They are elegant and classic and they make me feel polished and together, whether I’m in jeans or really dressed up. tomford.com
The last thing I bought and loved was a Robert Motherwell print for my husband Peter’s birthday. It’s a lithograph – a simple abstract in black paint – from the 1988 Octavio Paz Suite called A Throw of the Dice. I love the element of luck and chance that it conveys. Bernard Jacobson Gallery, 28 Duke St, London SW1 (jacobsongallery.com)
And the thing I’m eyeing next is a new kitchen from Plain English. I want a classic family kitchen that’s not too “country” or too modern, with marble countertops and brass handles. I recently spent a few hours in their showroom looking at different finishes and countertops and wanted to move in there instead. 28 Blandford St, London W1 (plainenglishdesign.co.uk)
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a chic, high-collared, long-sleeved short Emilia Wickstead dress in matelassé cotton, which is simple to wear yet makes a strong statement. The designer represents a modern femininity – I have a lot of her jumpsuits, which suit my “entrepreneurial boss-woman” situation but are also very feminine. £1,350, emiliawickstead.com
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is Kauai. We rented a house there for my father’s 70th birthday and it was such a transformative, transportive, almost other-worldly experience. It’s surreally beautiful and so surrounded by nature that it felt like living in another era. I thought, “I am never going anywhere else on holiday” – then we got back and the jetlag hit.
And the best souvenir I’ve brought home is a black lacquered Coromandel screen from the Porte de Clignancourt flea market. It was such a rare and great find, and it brings an element of Paris and a hint of Coco into our London living room. Porte de Clignancourt, 75018 Paris
The last meal that truly impressed me was Sunday lunch at The River Cafe. The food is unparalleled. I always start with the bruschetta, then have puntarella if it’s in season – it has just the right amount of tang and saltiness – then one of their vegetarian dishes, which are always out of this world. Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 (rivercafe.co.uk)
The beauty staples I’m never without are the fragrance Fracas by Robert Piguet, which I have worn for two decades; Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser, which a dermatologist recommended in my teens – I haven’t yet found anything better; and Tom Ford’s Illuminating Primer and his brow pencils – they make me look like a Roitfeld. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, £10 for 473ml; boots.com. Robert Piguet Fracas, £95 for 50ml EDP; selfridges.com. Tom Ford Illuminating Primer, £57; and Brow Sculptor, £40; tomford.co.uk
The best gift I’ve given recently is a year of flowers to a dear friend for his birthday – the best colour of the best variety each month. It’s a constant reminder of my love and friendship. flowerbx.com
And the best one I’ve received recently was a hollowed-out ostrich egg sitting on elegant brass legs, from Peter. It is beautiful, unexpected and exquisite, like a lot of his gifts to me. He bought it from an antiques store in Brera, in Milan, and carried it back in his hand luggage.
My favourite apps are Waze, as I am constantly driving between meetings; and the Tesla app, which allows me to park my car in a tight place without being in it.
My style icon is the stylist Elizabeth Saltzman; she nails it every time. She has this American classicism but with a European influence, because she has lived here for 20 years. She pushes things just far enough.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It’s about the lives of four friends in New York – it was disturbing and harrowing but also compelling and beautifully written. Because my reality is so intense, anything that takes me to another place is wonderful.
A recent “find” is Rose Uniacke’s Pimlico Road shop, the chicest place on the planet. She’s someone whose personal style and interiors I have admired for a long time: her vision is so singular and consistent. The last thing we bought from her was a pair of mother-of-pearl pendant lights for our living room. 76-84 Pimlico Rd, London SW1 (roseuniacke.com)
The people I rely on for personal grooming and wellbeing are Joel Hamilton, an amazing, handsome osteopath who comes to your house and can release even the stiffest neck or back; Rasa Lileikyte for manicures, pedicures, eyebrows and waxing at home – she’s a genius and always leaves me feeling brand new. For in-salon blowdries, I see Monika at Blo on Cale Street: she’s so quick. Blo by Realhair, Cale St, London SW3 (020-3021 9050). Joel Hamilton, 07974 831 703; joelhamiltonosteo.com. Rasa Lileikyte, 07830 348 617
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose Pimlico, because time seems to have stopped still there. I love browsing the treasures at Gordon Watson: he has impeccable taste in furniture, lighting and objects, and there is not one thing in his store I don’t want to buy – plus, he’s a great gossip. I also love Hemisphere gallery, which specialises in 20th-century design from 1940-1980, including pieces by Jouve, Royère and Matégot. And on Saturday mornings I pop into Daylesford for a matcha latte before shopping at Pimlico farmers’ market, which feels a bit like Paris in London – the lack of plastic and packaging is refreshing. Daylesford, 44B Pimlico Rd, SW1 (daylesford.com). Gordon Watson, 28 Pimlico Rd, SW1 (gordonwatson.co.uk). Hemisphere Gallery, 97 Lower Sloane St, SW1 (hemispheregallery.com). Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market, Pimlico Rd, SW1
An object I would never part with is a gold heart-shaped ring that my husband had cast for me to celebrate the birth of our third child. It was designed by him based on a plastic ring my son Snowdon gave to me, and it is signed by him and all three children. It represents all that is most dear to me in the world.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Robert Motherwell. His work is so bold, timeless, powerful and chic. It elevates any environment and always looks contemporary even though his works are decades old. I also recently discovered Rudolf Stingel at the Phillips contemporary sale. His work also has a modernity and timelessness that blows me away. 30 Berkeley Sq, London W1 (phillips.com).
The last music I downloaded was Dua Lipa’s Be the One. It’s very cool and for me it represents a modern love song. I’m also hooked on her single with Calvin Harris, One Kiss.
In my fridge you’ll always find berries, almond milk and lots of vegetables, often from Andreas on Cale Street, which has the most amazing produce. And I always have vitamin D drops and flax oil. 4 Cale St, London SW3 (andreasveg.co.uk)
My favourite room in my house is my living room in our Georgian home in South Kensington. It has a lot of beautiful things that my husband and I have bought together, loved and collected over the years – things we’ve had since before we had kids, like a stool we bought from the estate of the late interior designer and architect David Collins, because he was a friend of ours.
An indulgence I would never forgo is facials with Sarah Chapman. They make you look really fresh and young and are just so relaxing – she really takes you to another planet. £165, 259 Pavilion Rd, London SW1 (sarahchapman.net)
If I didn’t live in London, I would live in the Cotswolds, where we have a weekend house. I love the air, the natural beauty, the sounds and the emptiness of my days that can be spent entirely with my family. I love browsing the antiques shops in Tetbury – Brownrigg is one of my favourites; it’s filled with treasures – and lunches at The Swan a really pretty pub in Southrop with its own kitchen gardens. I do my grocery shopping at The Organic Farm Shop in Cirencester, and on Sundays I decamp to my friend Plum Sykes’ house for a gorgeous lunch with lots of wine and gossip. Brownrigg, 14 Long St, Tetbury (brownrigg-interiors.co.uk). The Organic Farm Shop, Abbey Home Farm, Burford Rd, Cirencester (theorganicfarmshop.co.uk). The Swan at Southrop, Southrop Manor Estate (thyme.co.uk/dining/the-swan-at-southrop)
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a full-time mum. That is my fantasy. Could I do it? Probably not.