The Aesthetes’ guide to souvenir shopping

Kim Jones, men’s artistic director of Dior

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a set of hill-tribe costumes from southeast Asia. I look at fabrics a lot when I travel and I just loved how modern they looked – like sportswear, but the patterns are hundreds of years old. I collect lots of different things, most of which are on display in my house, and people like to have a nose around when they come over.

Patrick Kinmonth, artist and designer

A tube of Lakrids by Bülow from Copenhagen – liquorice chocolate bonbons that I have with my coffee. I’m quite in love. 

Tracee Ellis Ross, actress

A cake stand I found in an antique store in Italy one summer and carried across Europe. It’s honestly not that pretty – I’m not sure what drew me to it – but I held it by hand on the plane until I got home. I don’t make cakes. I’ve never made a cake. And yet I have this cake stand. But it’s a really good souvenir of that trip to Italy.

Cynthia Nixon, actress

Colourful rugs I bought while filming in Morocco. We have them scattered throughout our house in Montauk. Because we have so much sunlight, they have faded over time, but I love that they aren’t heavy or ornate.

Tory Burch, designer

The best souvenir I’ve ever brought home is my husband, from France.

Manfredi della Gherardesca, art adviser and interior designer 

Cotton tablecloths and bedspreads from Jaipur. They are white with a white appliqué design – they’re not expensive or terribly special, but they’re all handmade, which I like. Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, Jaipur

Dapper Dan, designer 

Artefacts from Liberia, which I have all through my house – some hammered copper pictures that I picked up in the marketplace in Monrovia when I traded some of my clothes for them. There is also a big painting that I picked up of a huge tree in the middle of a village on a lake, with people swimming in the water all around, and it reminds me so much of Harlem.

Karla Welch, stylist

Pieces of pottery from a special trip to Greece. We went to Pelion, which has little mountain villages we visited every night for dinner. We found a great woman making pottery, so I bought lots of bowls from her – some are unglazed, some turquoise. You can tell she just submits to the magic of the fire.

Yalda Hakim, BBC World News presenter

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is an Afghan rug from a store on Chicken Street, the famous shopping street in Kabul where people have been selling antiques, carpets and knick-knacks for generations. I was in town to interview Hamid Karzai and gained exclusive access to the village in Kandahar where US staff sergeant Robert Bales had massacred 16 Afghan civilians. My team and I crossed a minefield to get to the homes of the victims, and the story was broadcast on multiple channels globally. It was after this that the BBC offered me a job and I left Australia and moved to the UK. The rug reminds me of that very special trip, which was a turning point in my career.

Sébastien Foucan, Parkour pioneer 

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is the shell from the bullet Daniel Craig shot me with [in Casino Royale]. I usually don’t keep much stuff but I kept that. I had to do a lot of training for the reaction to being shot – luckily, it’s never happened to me in real life. The funny thing is, we started with the end bit, so I began at the point where I’m dead and then they said, “OK, let’s start to shoot now.”

Leanne Shapton, author, artist and publisher

A parka for my daughter, from a trip to the Arctic. There was a little heritage centre in Gjoa Haven where the Inuit were selling stone carvings, and they had a rack of snow suits and parkas for kids. It was a giant, weird purple thing that was pretty amazing. I also found, on the beach, a shoulder-blade bone from a little seal.

Rose Uniacke, interior designer

A Jenaer Glaswerk tea set that I discovered in a very full, old and dark antique shop when I was roaming the streets of Buenos Aires. There’s an early 1930s example by Wilhelm Wagenfeld in the Museum of Modern Art in New York; I’m not sure of the exact date of mine though. It was fun to bring it back to Europe. Also, a small 1960s concertina book, Every Building on the Sunset Strip by Ed Ruscha, which I bought from a vintage bookseller in LA this summer. It stretches to about 7.5m, showing a continuous photographic view of Sunset Boulevard – both sides of the street.

Tom Broughton, Cubitts founder

An injection-plastic kiosk toy from Tokyo. I found it in a vending machine in Shibuya. It’s very weird but I love it.

Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis, the Greek prime minister’s wife and co-founder of Zeus+Dione

A Renaissance print by Albrecht Dürer, which I found in Beacon Hill, Boston. I’d been looking for this engraving, called Melencolia I, since I studied it at college – I went through a melancholia phase in my early 20s and really identified with it – but prints of it are quite rare. It depicts a pretty woman with her face resting on her hand, a magic square above her head and the sun shining brightly in the background. The 16th-century original is in The Met and this is, I think, an early-1800s reproduction. 

Gabriela Hearst, designer 

A silver paper knife from Leitao & Irmao, an elegant jewellery and silverware shop in Lisbon that dates back to the late 18th century – it was the crown jeweller. The quality and craftwork are beautiful.

Lauren Ridloff, the first deaf Marvel superhero

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is a teak stool that my husband and I bought on our honeymoon in Thailand. It’s a simple, portable stool that has grown with us and is now used by our boys in the kitchen. It’s a reminder of our beautiful trip to the Golden Triangle 16 years ago.

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