Evening Standard - ES Magazine
The gold-toothed fashion maverick and musician loves the world of Leigh Bowery, throws punches at BXR and finds dining options are even better here than in… Paris
Do you want me to say London? I wish I could. Home is in Paris, where my hairless sphynx cat, Pixie, is, but also in Los Angeles, New York and Venice, where our factory is, and where we spend a lot of time.
Where do you go to feel at home?
Well, I’ve been staying at Claridge’s. I’m a nomadic spirit. There’s a lot of places that I’d like to be but at this point in time, I prefer to be with family. Yesterday I was at 180 The Strand — they have the best exhibitions and people there. And I’ll always go to BXR, because it’s my boxing gym, and it’s so fun.
What excites you about the city?
There’s something about London right now that’s extremely vibrant. There’s always this feeling in the city that something is being created just around the next corner. Last night, Björk was DJing. When she plays she’s the most energetic and the most fun — she’s the best DJ. You just don’t want her to stop.
What was your first memory of London?
I remember being at Paddington station aged 12 or 13 and thinking it was huge. I was going to Wales as part of an exchange to learn English. I was alone, I don’t recall why, though someone was picking me up. When the son of the family I was staying with arrived to collect me, it turned out he was a trainspotter. So every time we got to a crossing or a station, he would tell me what trains we were going to pass. It was the oddest thing ever; but also spoke volumes about the English spirit.
Who do you call when you’re in town?
A lot of people. I’m very close with everyone at 180 The Strand, and Mark Wadhwa at The Vinyl Factory. He released my second album, Lavascar, recorded at Strongroom studios here with Nico Vascellari and my daughter Scarlett Rouge. We were meant to do something live but then Covid happened. And also, my friend Stefan Kalmár, who was the director of the ICA.
Do you have any favourite London-based designers or artists?
Mark Leckey. I have a few of his pieces in my house and I particularly like his installations. There are so many great London galleries; I love Tate Modern and Tate Britain; I’m very fond of Sadie Coles gallery and all the artists at White Cube.
What do you think is special about the fashion scene here?
Now that lots of fashion shows are happening at the same time as Frieze, its profile is growing. There are so many London designers whose story is very important, but often they go to a big [fashion] house; they get taken by other people. This city was the home of Leigh Bowery, and that’s the world that [my husband, the fashion designer Rick Owens, and I] like — the club scene mixed with the fashion scene and everything else. London is the best of that.
Best thing you’ve ever eaten here?
I don’t know because I don’t eat many sausages or chicken pot pies! But there are definitely a lot more restaurant options in London than in Paris because there’s great Indian and Chinese food here. I went on a barge with Margot and Fergus Henderson, and Melanie Arnold recently [and the food] was fantastique.
“We like the club scene mixed with the fashion scene and everything else. London is the best of that”
What are you working on at the moment?
We’re currently building a nest at Ladbroke Hall [a new west London art mecca opening next year] with the Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
What is something that you dislike about London?
That you drive on the left side, because I always look the wrong way. I can’t get used to it, even after 50 years or more.