Gaia Repossi: ‘I dream about being in water… it’s in my genes’
Simply sign up to the Style myFT Digest -- delivered directly to your inbox.
My personal style signifier is clothing with menswear influences. I like simple silhouettes cut in certain ways – shirts, cigarette pants and loafers, worn with blazers by Bottega Veneta, Prada or The Row. I then like to bring in an unexpected twist, like an outrageous top or sportswear.
I don’t wear much make-up, probably because of my upbringing in France – it’s never been a popular thing to wear a lot of it here. I have very strong features, so I don’t think it suits me anyway, and I don’t think I need to hide anything.
The last thing I bought and loved was a Standing Writing Desk by Donald Judd. I know his son Flavin well, and I had bought a table from them a long time ago. It’s fabulous – enormous, definitely invented by an American, made in plywood and extremely simple. I use it for drawing, but I also love just leaving a pile of documents I need to think about on it, or a book that is significant to me. POA, judd.furniture
And on my wishlist is a Wolfgang Tillmans picture – a beautiful flower with a black background – that’s been on my mind but hasn’t been confirmed in my spirit yet. There’s also a Cindy Sherman picture where she’s wearing a white shirt and watering a garden. When I saw it hanging at the FIAC fair in Paris, my heart stopped. Wolfgang Tillmans, maureenpaley.com
My first piece of jewellery was a ring that I made when I was 17. It was in black gold and had an elongated shape.
An indulgence I would never forgo is foamy matcha. I don’t drink coffee, so I always have it at home. Recently, I’ve been making different kinds of affogatos with matcha and vegan ice cream. It’s the best. I also love to have a bouquet of flowers by my friend Louis-Géraud Castor, in Paris. His arrangements are incredible, and he often uses stems from Alexandre Boucreux, the best rose producer in France. Bouquets from €90, castor-fleuriste.com
The place I can’t wait to go back to is the Mediterranean. I’ve been dreaming about swimming and being in water. I grew up by the Mediterranean (between Monaco, Cannes and Paris) and I feel like it’s in my genes. I try to find less populated places – I’ve gone to Corsica for many years and to the remotest, quietest parts of Ibiza. I also love the desert for its dramatic, beautiful presence. My partner, the artist and photographer Jeremy Everett, and I often go to Utah – it’s an aesthetic environment that nourishes us.
The best souvenirs I’ve brought home are my Bengal cats, which came to me from California. One is called Prometheus – a bit of a pompous name – and the other is Matisse. They are silver-spotted and have funny personalities – they’re teddy bears.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is The Other Face of the Moon by Claude Lévi-Strauss, my favourite anthropologist. I also recently ordered a lot of books on sustainability and ecology, including After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair and Restoration by Holly Jean Buck. It presents a series of possible futures and is really interesting.
The accessory I’ll never part with is a pendant my grandfather designed for me and gave to me for my 17th birthday. It has a very art-deco floral design, with my initials carved in.
The podcast I’m listening to is Back to Earth by the Serpentine. It’s interesting because it combines the art world with sustainable and environmental causes. I studied fine arts, but I find a lot of platforms too academic and museums, as institutions, way too limiting. I think this succeeds in bringing up topics and making artists react to them. serpentinegalleries.org
Recently I have relied on daily yoga. It’s something I’ve always done, but lately I’ve had time, finally, to go further in the secondary series of ashtanga. It’s very difficult but I’ve improved a lot. My teachers are Lucien Zuber and Alex Onfroy in Paris, and Eddie Stern, whom I started with back in the day in New York. I’ve been following his teachings for many years.
My style icon is Franz West. I’ve always looked at artists’ biographies and he’s crazy. There’s this famous portrait where he’s wearing a giant, pâpier-maché tutu skirt with a ’70s turtleneck and loafers.
The best gift I’ve given recently is a book of stills by Wim Wenders to Jeremy. He’s very into cinematography and his main interest is photography in cinema, so we watch very long films just for their photography. This book is a collection of stills from Paris, Texas, which he loves. £150, ideanow.online
And the best gift I’ve received recently is a set of six signed books that Cindy Sherman, who is a dear friend, gave me the last time I saw her. Some are dedicated and some are off the market, so you can’t find them any more. One is an anthology of her first works, all the black-and-white pictures; another is on her MoMA retrospective. I love them all.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe is a velvet Balenciaga dress that I bought when they reopened after lockdown. I haven’t been wearing much of these items lately, but this is almost like sportswear – it’s long-sleeved, quite stretchy, and it’s a skirt at the front and shorts at the back. It’s very ’90s.
The last music I downloaded was the soundtrack from a Jim Jarmusch film, The Limits of Control. It’s not a very popular film, but it’s actually very funny visually and artistically, and the music is great. I also recently downloaded A Brief History, a compilation by Penguin Café Orchestra. Even their work originally made in the 1970s still sounds so contemporary.
A recent “find” is an acoustic guitar. I like to compose very informally. I can’t really play. I use it to just listen to the sounds – it has a soothing quality.
I have a collection of ceramics, many of them from Japan. I buy quite simple ones rather than antiques, and I’ve amassed quite a lot since I first visited there when I was 19. The design I love the most at the moment is this big, bright, flat piece that Sterling Ruby sent me recently.
In my fridge you’ll always find a selection of refined kombuchas, usually from Aujourd’hui Demain, which is a restaurant and store in Paris. Since lockdown, I’ve also been making a herbal electrolyte lemonade. It’s very simple and I always make big jars that I leave in the fridge to drink in the morning. It’s just two lemons, two apples, filtered water, possibly Epsom salts and then honey, and you blend the whole thing. It’s supposed to help your immunity. I always have paleo bread, which I either make myself or get from a place called Cave and Coconut in Paris that specialises in paleo; it’s a bit of a hidden secret. The bread contains seeds, nuts and coconut oil, and it’s barely cooked – it’s “alive” and very nutritious. My dear friend Gia Coppola, who I used to see a lot when I lived in LA, makes wine with her grandfather, Francis Ford Coppola, and I always have a stash of that too – I prefer rosé and red. thefamilycoppola.com
Make every moment matter with
How To Spend It - your essential guide to getting the best out of life. Sign up here.
With time on my hands, I’ve been drawing more and I’ve sketched a lot in my studio. I also have these watercolours I travel with, which are at home at the moment, so I’ve been painting a little too.
An object I would never part with is a sari from the 1800s, embroidered with gold thread, which was given to me by one of my mother’s friends for my 18th birthday.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Cy Twombly. He’s the master – the rhythm, the energy, the aesthetic… even his Polaroids are beyond beautiful. Also Howard Hodgkin – he has this interesting thing about painting on the frame, and I just love the colours. I have a print of his called In the Green Room.
The beauty staple I’m never without is an aromatherapy mist called Harmony by Spritz Wellness, which has lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile and bergamot. I use it as perfume. I’m also obsessed with a body oil from a Japanese brand called Uka. £20, spritzwellness.com. £50, alyaka.com
If I didn’t live in Paris, the city I would live in is New York. It’s a place where I will forever feel happy; it’s where I met Jeremy almost 10 years ago, and I have memories from there that are suspended in time. I’ve learned how to move in that city. One of my favourite places is the Dia gallery in Soho with The Broken Kilometer by Walter De Maria. The piece is from 1979, and it’s in this beautiful long room with nothing but stashes of golden bars all the way down – it looks like one of my rings. Jeremy took me there after we met; it’s a New York treasure. Then there’s also the Judd Foundation, which I was very lucky to be introduced to by Flavin and Rainer Judd, who told me all about her father – it really moved me because I am also really close to my father, and I’ve worked with him since the beginning. I also love the Noguchi Museum, an incredible place that used to be a studio and has a beautiful garden – it’s a very Zen moment in the middle of the city.
My favourite room in my house is my meditation room. Three-quarters of it is covered with a tatami that I had made in Kyoto, and the other quarter is beautiful maple wood that is more for my yoga. I have a traditional Japanese futon in there that I roll out so it can also be a guest room.
I’m planning a new vision for Repossi. It’s all in the seeds and DNA of the brand that are already there, but I think it will take it in a different direction – it’s expected by the audience, especially the new generation. They are far more ahead and prepared for what’s needed.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a painter. My dream was always to own a very large painting studio. Who knows. It’s always in the back of my mind.