MY CULTURAL LIFE: LAURA BAILEY

An arbiter of taste tells us what they're reading, watching and more

Laura Bailey sitting on hotel bed
Laura Bailey

Bailey began her career in modelling, but this stylish polymath has since worked with Oxfam, writes a column for British Vogue, is the cultural ambassador for the British Fashion Council and a patron of The Photographers’ Gallery – as well as being a Chanel muse and ambassador for Save the Children. Now she is turning her sense of adventure to a new role, writing location-inspired reading lists and tips for Oetker’s glamorous hotels, from London’s Lanesborough to Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the south of France. ‘I’m happiest on the road,’ she says, ‘whether returning to a favourite place or discovering the new.’

image
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Oetker Collection
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc

My favourite piece of music? If I had to choose just one it would be Nick Cave’s album, The Boatman’s Call. Alongside Leonard Cohen’s Songs from a Room and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater– mostly for all the memories of boyfriends, girlfriends, dancing and adventures.

At the moment I’m listening to Everything Is Recorded by Richard Russell. I’m also obsessed with his collaborators, Infinite and Ibeyi, and went to see them all play live in a disused Hackney leisure centre last summer.

Everything is Recorded by Richard Russell album cover
Everything is Recorded by Richard Russell
Everything is Recorded

The books that have inspired me are Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion; Gabriel García Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy and Michael Craig-Martin’s On Being an Artist.

On Being an Artist book cover, by Michael Craig-Martin
On Being an Artist by Michael Craig-Martin
On Being an Artist by Michael Craig-Martin

My favourite films include Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse and Red Desert – both starring the fantastic Monica Vitti – as well as pretty much everything by the Coen brothers.

Actor Monica Vitti in a Michelangelo Antonioni film
Monica Vitti
Monica Vitti

I have a favourite gallery in every city, but the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a short train ride from Copenhagen, is a treat – the towering Giacometti statue is a fantasy backdrop to my kids’ games of hide and seek.

The last play I saw in London was Machinal at The Almeida, which starred my step-sister Emily Berrington. She was extraordinary. The Jungle and The Inheritance, directed by my friend Stephen Daldry, were also recent highlights

image
Giacometti sculptures in theLouisiana Museum of Modern Art
Alberto Giacometti, licensed in the UK by ACS and DACSAlamy

I will always treasure the photographs given to me by my friend SamTaylor-Johnson and paintings by Sophie de Stempel – especially one in oils of my son as a baby in my arms. I also have a tiny Tracey Emin watercolour drawing, I’m Always Here.

My favourite place to visit in the world? I’m by nature a lone adventurer, most memorably travelling to Rwanda and Uganda to see the silverback gorillas, and crisscrossing Kenya and Tanzania. But, when I want to fully relax, I return to the South of France and, when the stars align, to the fabled Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc.

Red road winding through Kenya landscape
Kenya

All I really want for Christmas is a puppy, but I’ve been saying that for a while now. I want to treat my best friend, Leona, to a night in Paris at Le Bristol hotel, and pickup Chanel brooches and hair bows for the rest of my gang. I’ll buy skateboarding paraphernalia for my son and ice-skates for my daughter. But the best presents from them will be drawn or made – a poem, portrait, mug or a bowl.

This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration January 2019

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below