Theo Fennell: 'I'm secretly addicted to Take Me Out'

My Style: The jewellery designer owns four Kindles and is a secret TV addict.

by Kate Bassett
Last Updated: 24 Apr 2014

WORK

I wake up at 7am, do a few pitiful stretches, have a bath and watch Sky News. After a cup of tea and a bowl of cereal, I head to our flagship store and design studio in Chelsea. I live close by, so I walk to work, even though it means getting run over by rude schoolchildren on scooters. I arrive, bruised, at 8.30am and start sketching.

Designing jewellery is like playing the piano: you have to practise every day. I read The Jewellery Editor by Maria Doulton and I follow writers Carol Woolton (jewellery editor of Vogue) and Vivienne Becker (FT's How to Spend It) but the trade is ill served by the press; there's a lot of pretentious twaddle.

Business lunches are overrated. I'd rather have meetings in the office, then eat with friends at PJ's or Daphne's in South Kensington. If I'm lunching in the office, I'll have a salad and fruit.

I have suits made for me. I can't remember the last time I bought one off the peg. My shirts are from Johnnie Boden, a very old friend of mine, and I usually wear Chelsea boots or Mr.Hare shoes. I rarely wear ties. My signature work colours are black, white and pink.

PERSONAL

We have a house near Newbury, so we're down in the country at the weekends. I play a lot of golf (my handicap is 10) and I love reading. My wife, Louise, and our eldest daughter, Emerald, are both writers, so we're always recommending books to each other. I've just finished William Boyd's Solo, which was a cracking read.

I'd quite happily spend a Saturday night glued to the television. Last weekend, my wife and I watched four back-to-back episodes of BBC drama The Long Firm. It was a TV orgy. I'm secretly addicted to Take Me Out.

Clothing-wise, I'm much more lavish - or 'fruity' as my daughters say - in my spare time. I'm a great fan of corduroy trousers in exotic colours and I own about 40 pairs of evening-wear slippers in all kinds of shades and patterns. My favourite are bright-pink velvet. I'd like the cane to make a comeback.

TRAVEL

I travel overseas every month for business, usually to the Middle East and eastern Europe, where we have outlets. If it's a long-haul flight, I'll fly club class. But, for short trips, I just roll myself in a ball.

As a family, we go away three or four times a year: Corfu, the Spanish islands and the south of France in the summer, and Barbados for new year. We're taking the girls to the Edinburgh Festival this year, too.

I always pack a Kindle (I own four) and my guitar - I recently bought a Martin steel-string Backpacker travel guitar, which is easier to lug around.

INSPIRATIONS

Sir Elton John has been the most important person in the development of my career. He started commissioning me in the early 1980s; I could never have afforded to create such adventurous, audacious pieces without him. He spread the word about my work.

I recently teamed up with Stephen Webster, Shaun Leane and Solange Azagury-Partridge to form The Leopard to champion British jewellery. We have the best craftsmen and designers - we need to start blowing our own trumpet.

I've been married for 37 years and Louise has always been incredibly supportive - she's the still, small voice of reason.

I'm a patron of the Nordoff Robbins music therapy charity, the Elton John Aids Foundation and Maggie's cancer support.

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