My Secret Life: Julien Macdonald, fashion designer, 39

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The Independent Online

My parents ... and the generations before them were all brought up in Wales. Back in the day my mum was a swimwear model and my dad lived and worked on a family farm in South Wales.

The house I grew up in ... was a small house in the Welsh Valleys, 10 minutes from the Brecon Beacons National Park and 30 minutes from Cardiff, so I had beautiful countryside at my doorstep while being just a train ride away from the big city and beyond.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... a painter, like Monet. I saw his water lilies in Paris on a trip to visit the galleries.

If I could change one thing about myself ... I'd like to be slightly taller. If I were 6ft I wouldn't have to wear wedge-heeled boots.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at ... sport. I pride myself on my skiing. I go most years to Verbier in Switzerland – and I love snowboarding, too, but I did do my back in somewhat this year.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... cooking meat or main meals, but I can bake and enjoy making and decorating cakes for friends' birthdays and parties.

At night I dream of ... sailing around the world like Captain Cook did all those years ago. It must have been amazing to happen upon distant lands – and slightly scary, too.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... is a happy person.

My favourite item of clothing ... I have fallen in love with pieces by the avant-garde designer Rick Owens. I've been wearing one of his leather jackets for the last month.

I wish I'd never worn ... Speedos.

It's not fashionable but I like ... afternoon tea at the Ritz or Claridges, but mostly at home with my mum.

I drive ... Actually, I don't like driving and am the worst driver you will ever meet. But I still wouldn't mind a 1960s or 1970s Bentley.

My house is ... a small mews house in Notting Hill. It is at the end of a cobbled street and full of character.

A book that changed me ... I don't know if it changed me but I remember that reading 'The Great Gatsby' by F Scott Fitzgerald was an incredibly haunting experience.

My favourite building ... is Gaudi's great church, the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. It looks like something from another world. I find it amazing that the construction started in 1882 and is only due to finish in 2026!

My favourite work of art ... I have always liked Andy Warhol – not only was he an interesting and bizarre character and the father of Pop Art but he made films, too. I love his iconic, brilliantly coloured and much-replicated images of Marilyn Monroe.

Movie heaven ... is popcorn – sweet not salty – and anything by Tim Burton.

The last album I bought/downloaded ... was 'Glee: The Music, Volume 1'.

My secret crush ... is Marilyn Monroe. She's sexy and ditzy in 'How to Marry a Millionaire' and sizzling in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'.

My greatest regret ... is that I never bought that parrot I saw when I was a boy, and which I couldn't afford. I'm now buying an Amazon Macaw, and its colours are incredible: golds, yellows, oranges, azures.

The person who really makes me laugh ... is Charlie Chaplin.

The last time I cried ... was at my best friend's wedding.

My five-year plan ... is to be happy and see my family more often.

What's the point? To be happy and make others happy too.

My life in six words ... fast, exciting, colourful, crazy, interesting, demanding.

A life in brief

Julien Macdonald OBE was born on 19 March, 1971 in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. He started his career working for Karl Lagerfeld, was named Designer of the Year in 2001, and is now creative director of his own label. Macdonald is currently filming a new series of Britain's Next Top Model for Living TV and his Star range is available at Debenhams