AT SIX foot four, leather maestro Bill Amberg is not exactly a short man. Finding trousers of a decent length is never a problem, however - all his suits are tailor-made and in summer he does not wear socks. "It's one less thing to worry about and so it doesn't matter if your trousers are short."

If Amberg is in his tailored suits he prefers formal shoes from Crockett & Jones (0171-976 2684); he likes the shape for his size 11 or12E feet. If he is wearing his Low Pressure (0171-792 3134) "weekend pants" he wears moccasins from an American company Carl Dyers (001-812-6675442) on his bare feet. "You just draw around your foot and fax it off to him. Then he makes really nice little boots. I've got four pairs."

Naturally Amberg can't quite help but shop around for old leather goods. "I can't drive past a car boot sale without stopping and I like antique shops. I have some old leather waders from Sheila Cook's (0171-792 8001) in Ledbury Road." His house is full of sheepskins from various places. "There's a very old sheepskin supplier/dealer in the City called Stepan Tertsakian Ltd (0171-236 8788) in Queen Street. I covered our sofa in the bathroom with a skin from there." One of Amberg's latest projects is a sheepskin papoose to keep offspring in. "Papooses are normally really horrible, so these are a revolution for parents fed up with ones covered in bunny rabbits. I designed it in conjunction with a mail-order company called Nursery Emporium (01249 811310) which sells quality children's equipment." Amberg is soon to bring out his own stylish nappy bag, too.

When travelling on business, usually in Japan or America, he likes to buy presents for Esme Amberg, his one-year-old daughter. "I like to buy quirky things. In a hardware store on Canal Street in New York they had this box of tiny magnets for 10 cents each. I bought 30 or 40 for Esme to play with. They really engross her."

Wife Susie Forbes, editor-at-large at Vogue, has received presents "out of season" from "lots of places" including antiques shops. Benchmark (0171-229 4179) is very good for glass vases.

Amberg cannot resist the supermarkets in Japan: "They're full of surprises." He loves Japanese food and stocks up at Ariakea in Yotsu-ya, Tokyo. It sells tsukudani which is a generic term for pickled fish and pickled vegetables. "They pickle in a particular way - it's just heaven!" In France he shops at the markets for Roquefort salamis, cheeses and oils. Back home in London he buys his deli foods from Angelo's in Queens Park.

Amberg is not inspired by things like bed linen; "You can get plain white from anywhere". His home is in a constant state of flux and he struggles with his garden. "I love gardening. There's a really nice garden centre in Uxbridge but I can't remember the name. Oh, and there's another place up the M1 called Frosts at Woburn Sands in Milton Keynes (01908 583511) which is really good too." Cuttings are given to Bill and Susie from both their mothers and from "people who know us". In fact Amberg seems often to acquire, rather than to consciously shop; he claims not to "get out much". Hence the pens he scribbles his ideas down with are pilfered from his office and tend to be "no-nonsense ink pens". Amberg's best pens and pencils, though, are called Dr Grip's (made by Pilot and available from Selfridges, 0171-629 1234). "Everyone should have their own Dr Grip."

Bill Amberg, 10 Chepstow Rd, London W2; 0171-727 3560

Comments