Shopping with.. Tracey Boyd: Florence, Paris, Portobello

TRACEY BOYD imagines that most designers, like herself, hardly ever buy clothes. "I wear my own - if you're a girl it kind of makes sense, but when I do buy I choose things which are completely different from what I design." Boyd produces pretty skirts and dresses in beautiful fabrics for her own two-year-old label, Boyd, but when she's "nowhere near fashion people", rustles around in long skirts "made from tent material" which make her feel like a wigwam. "I go to Vexed Generation in Soho [3 Berwick Street, London W1; 0171 287 6224] which sells amazing streetwear. It's terrifying to get to, on the first floor down an alleyway which smells of piss - you have to walk across this horrible chicken wire bit, but inside it's fantastic and inventive."

Boyd buys accessories aplenty. She carries a velvet tote by Samantha Heskia (0171 589 9777 ). "It's feminine but big enough to keep my huge Filofax in." The petite designer has teeny size two-and-a-half feet. Every season she treats herself to Manolo Blahnik shoes, "and Prada and Miu Miu are good because they do a size 35. I absolutely adore shoes by the designer, Rodolphe Menudier [The Cross, 141 Portland Road, London W11; 0171 727 6760], as they fit me perfectly."

Boyd also loves buying vintage shoes (her latest are Turkish slippers, complete with curled toes and tassels) and clothes. "I scour markets and retro shops like Vent [open on Fridays and Saturdays on Ledbury Road, London W11] and there's a second-hand cashmere stall at Portobello Market, under the Westway flyover where I get floral cardigans for pounds 25-pounds 40. People always ask me where I buy them." Boyd also likes shopping for children's knitwear; jumpers from Gap Kids (0800 427 789) and Jigsaw Junior (0171 491 4484). "I even wear kids' socks - it's pathetic," she laughs.

Tracey likes to buy lots of stuff abroad - it makes for a more unique look as other people are less likely to have them. Florence is a favourite destination. "I always go to this really old-fashioned haberdashery, called Quercioli and Lucherini [00 39 055292035]. It's got really fantastic ribbons; Swiss Alpine ribbons and sampler ribbons with cross hatches, I've got oodles of boxes from there." For bathroom products, Boyd also visits the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (16 Via Della Scala; 00 39 055216276) set in part of an old church. "When you go in, the smell's quite extraordinary. I come home with bags of fantastic herbs and all sorts of weird potions."

In Paris, the designer visits Colette (213 Rue Saint Honore; 00 331 55353390). "Even though lots of the things there are available in London, I like the way they put them together." On a recent trip to New York, Boyd was fascinated by Michael Anchin Glass Co (250 Elizabeth Street, NYC; 001 212 219 8253). "They had the most beautiful hand-blown glass eggcups graded in colours like lilacs and pinks - all my kind of colours. I thought it was an absolutely exquisite place." Other little objects scattered around Boyd's stylish home haven't travelled quite as far. "I go to Judy Greenwood Antiques [657 Fulham Road, London, SW3; 0171 736 6037] for things like French enamel pots, picture frames and curtain tiebacks."

Aside from ribbons, beautiful glassware and scaled-down shoes, what does Tracey Boyd shop for? "I get excited about food shops like Baker & Spice [46 Walton Street, London SW3; 0171 589 4734]. I could get extremely podgy on cheese straws from there." From a "wonderful delicatessen" on Fulham Road called Salumeria Estense (837 Fulham Road, London SW6; 0171 731 7643) Boyd buys "Italian food and bread, like foccacia." She buys organic meat from a "wonderful butcher on Wandsworth Bridge Road called Randalls [0171 736 3426]. They do fantastic home-made pies. I wish I had time to buy from individual greengrocers and butchers all the time. I hate being manipulated by supermarkets, and it makes me really livid when they switch the aisles around to confuse you."

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