What influences do you draw upon to fuel your creativity?
I am inspired by the Situationist movement. I take a walk with no destination each day when I am conceptualizing ideas. I also enjoy visiting second-hand shops just for the sheer knowledge that you never know what will be on the shelves, or how it will be arranged, so you will end up having items grouped together in ways that defy logic - a 1950s telephone beside a 1980s bottle of perfume, for instance, which helps spark creative thoughts.
When I travel, I always visit supermarkets and art galleries; I learn a lot from both of these places. I also visit a library at least once a week.
Music is an incredibly important part of my work and my life. I make mixes depending on projects, seasons and moods.
I am also inspired by design. My father built a lot of the furniture in my childhood home, and we’d often collaborate on wild ideas. Each of my siblings and I had huge, oversized, treasure chests with secret compartments, bespoke to each child. He painted murals across our houses and his art work was influenced primarily by fairy tales, which has trickled down to me, too. The first film I saw in the cinema was a reissue of Snow White, which is his favourite film. He has painted and drawn Snow White in many different incarnations.
What is your current passion project?
My current on-going passion project is working with Courvoisier, fusing together my two worlds - fine spirits and perfume. Courvoisier is such an aromatic liquid, and as such, it’s been a pleasure designing scents that respect this olfactory history. For this project, I not only work with the fine people at Courvoisier, but I am able to collaborate with other great creative minds, like perfumer Euan McCall, who I worked with to design candles and incense to enhance the Courvoisier experience. It is my passion project because I am encouraged with Courvoisier to be imaginative and creative, which is the realm I operate best in. Further, as I work with spirits, it is delightful to work and taste such fine cognacs as part of my workday.
What is your idea of food Heaven?
My idea of food Heaven is my grandmother’s home any Sunday evening. My grandmother is Italian-Canadian and has hosted dinner at her house for the last 68 years or so. Our large family, neighbours, and friends drop by, which means she is catering for dozens of people every week! In my 36 years of Sunday dinners, my grandmother has never burned anything - the pastries and cakes are perfect and fresh pasta is always on the table. There are no kitchen nightmares. I love being surrounded by people I love who in turn love me, and I enjoy the many conversations and good-natured 'arguments'. Throughout the evening the drinks flow and the plates keep appearing all night.
What is your idea of food Hell?
As enjoying a meal ultimately relies on the atmosphere the food is served in, I would say that my idea of food hell would be in any restaurant that seems stiff, stuffy or snobbish in either décor or service.
Inspirational quote that you live by?
'Barn’s burned down - now I can see the moon.' - Mizuta Masahide (1657-1723) a Japanese poet, doctor and Samurai
What city do you find the most:
- Inspirational: Toronto
- Invigorating: Auckland
- Relaxing: South Wales Coast
- Home Away From Home: Tokyo
Favourite ‘blow the bank account’ place you like to stay when you’re treating yourself?
- The Savoy, London
- Royal York Hotel, Toronto
- Park Hyatt Tokyo (I’m a big Lost in Translation fan)
- The Caledonian-Waldorf Astoria, Edinburgh
- Chateau Marmont, California - I'd like to visit this hotel when I’m next in California
Favourite restaurant in the world?
My favourite restaurant in the world is Chinese Traditional Buns on Dundas Street Toronto. It serves remarkably refined dim sum, with prices that cost less than fast food. The family that run it work hard and their selection of dim sum is vast. I once ate there 11 times in one week!
Favourite holiday memory?
My favourite holiday memory was flying to LA on a whim with my siblings and my mom when I was a teenager to see what the LA scene was all about. My mom is pretty 'rock and roll', so it was a fairly exciting trip. I’ve since been on tours with musicians and bands, however, the trips with my mom still feel the most wild!
What are your must-have travel essentials?
- Headphones - my husband makes me a bespoke music mix for each trip I go on
- Eeyore, my stuffed animal companion that I've had since childhood, which doubles as a pillow
- Neal's Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm
- A book
- A bottle of bitters to enhance the drinks along the way
What is your next adventure?
I am an avid train traveller and have just taken some beautiful train rides across North Wales. My next adventure will be a train journey across Russia in the winter.