Bloomsbury. We [Erdem and his husband, architect Philip Joseph] moved here a year ago. Before that we lived in Hackney for about 15 years. It’s a big change to live more central but it’s wonderful. I can ricochet between the British Museum and the Curzon cinema on the weekends. And in 40 minutes I can walk to my store in Mayfair.
What is your first memory of London?
Being hoisted up by my father on to the foot of a lion in Trafalgar Square. I was about five and everything about London seemed huge. My first proper flat was in a rundown Victorian mansion block in Fulham while I was studying fashion at the Royal College of Art with my friends Daisy and Cressida. We more or less lived at college, sewing or in the bar, and went to the flat to use the washing machine and sleep occasionally.
Which shops do you rely on?
I love, love Skoob: books spelt backwards! It’s a used bookstore under the Brunswick Centre. I find it difficult to not find something amazing and obscure. I have a serious book addiction. In terms of food I love The Quality Chop House deli. Great if you are getting ready for a Sunday roast. If you need to get someone a good housewarming present, Niwaki on Chiltern Street is fantastic. They sell very practical and beautiful Japanese things.
Best meal you’ve had?
Every time I go to the River Café I think it’s the best meal I have ever had. It might be the sea bass or the linguine with crab or the wildly good Chocolate Nemesis… everything Ruthie does is magic. I love her! I think there is something that always feels special when you are there, plus all year round it’s amazing. Whether it’s sitting outside in the summer with a Negroni or near the big wood oven in the back in winter nibbling on pizzetta.
The River Cafe
/ Richard Bryant/arcaidimages.com
Where do you go to let your hair down?
The Glory. Most of the gay bars we used to go to closed down in east London, but thankfully there is The Glory. I don’t go enough but I love it when I get the chance. Drag shows, queer cabaret, two floors of fun. It’s glorious.
Where would you most like to be buried?
Under seats 6, 5 and 4 in row E in the stalls at the Royal Opera House. I love going to the ballet and I try to go as much as possible. Kevin O’Hare the director is brilliant, and I also hate missing anything, so having permanently good seats is ideal.
If you could buy any building in London and live there, which would it be?
The London Library on St James’s Square. It’s the oldest lending library in London. Everyone from Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf and EM Forster have all been members. I love it. It is one of my favourite places in the city. The idea of owning the entire building and its contents would suit me fine. And to have librarian flatmates. Ideal.
Best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?
On the day we got married we were driving from Marylebone town hall in an old convertible. At a red light a cabbie leaned over and asked, ‘Which one of you got married?’ We explained we both did… to each other.
A complete volume of The Yellow Book. It was a quarterly magazine (that was actually published in London) from 1894 to 1897. Aubrey Beardsley was the art editor and the magazine was named after the yellow covers they would put on controversial French novels at the time. It’s my favourite thing and quite hard to find a full set in good condition.
What’s your London secret?
The used book section in Gay’s the Word. It’s one small section of the bookstore but it’s incredible. You can even find a few titles published before being gay was even legalised. I bought a beautiful edition of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man.