My Life In Travel: Stephen Jones, milliner

'I'd like to travel around the world like a student'

First holiday memory?

Mullion Cove in Cornwall, with my parents. We stayed in a cottage with a housekeeper, who made me eat bananas. I was brought up in Liverpool, and in those days there were no motorways so we set off at 4am and arrived there at night.

Best holiday?

Sri Lanka. At Central Saint Martins college, one of my best friends was Sri Lankan, so I went to visit him and I was able really to experience the Sri Lankan mentality, hospitality and culture. Friends of mine run the Sun House hotel in Galle, so it was great to go there, too; it's gorgeous.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I love Portmeirion. It's very un-British in a way, because it's such a place of fantasy. It's so charming and was my favourite place as a child. I love it as an adult, too – how it looks, and its spectacular location. I grew up by the seaside but live in a terrace in London now, so I love going there to watch the sun going down.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Travelling is a great inspiration for my work. Whenever I go abroad I notice things like the shape of a mountain or a fabulous hat that somebody is wearing. I recently went to Lord Howe Island in Australia, which is the most extraordinary place. It's very remote and like being in the 1950s. The maximum speed is 20mph, there's a gong for dinner, nobody locks the front door and everyone cycles. It was a very inspirational place.

Ideal travelling companion?

A Liberty notebook. I never leave home without it. I always have it with me to write a diary, do sketches and make notes.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I love being a beach bum, but why would you go somewhere if it wasn't for the culture? I never go on a two-week holiday, it's always tacked on to a business trip – it's the variety that makes things exciting.

Greatest travel luxury?

I travel all the time and I think travelling itself is a luxury. It's inspiring and invigorating and a great privilege of our time.

Holiday reading?

I often take books relevant to my next collection. I think I am the only person in the world who would drag half of his baggage allowance in a load of books of Fifties flower arrangements to Australia.

Where has seduced you?

Sri Lanka, because of the combination of the most extraordinary things: the tropics, the wacky British sensibility, the people, the glamour, the green of the tea plantations... Being by a lake on the south coast at dusk and watching ibises coming down to roost is just a wonderful experience as you listen to chants from the Buddhist temples mixed with the tinkling of an ice-cream van.

Better to travel or arrive?

I do enjoy travelling; it's time to switch off. I go to Paris at least once a week on the Eurostar and I really enjoy watching Kent and northern France whizzing past.

Worst travel experience?

I was paddling in the Sea of Cortez in Baja California and trod on a stingray. Its barb lodged between my Achilles tendon and the bone. I was 30 miles from the nearest clinic and was the only one in my party who could drive. It was the most painful thing.

Worst holiday?

Going camping in the South of France when I was a child. There was an absolute downpour and our tent collapsed on top of us. I had to sleep in the car for two nights with my two older sisters, who were bickering and taking it out on me.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Cornwall. I had gone down there for a friend's 50th birthday and there were lots of fashion people staying. I had a design meeting on the Sunday morning, so I went down for breakfast first at 8am. The waitress told me to move from the table because it was reserved and sat me at a table right at the back by the kitchen, even though I was only going to have a quick cup of coffee. I asked if I could have a paper and she told me they didn't get them on a Sunday.

Best hotel?

The Plaza Athénée in Paris, which is just across from my workroom at Dior. I had a room there and in a funny way it was very low-key, but very beautifully done. It wasn't too glamorous; the pitch of it was perfect.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

From LAX airport to Desert Hot Springs. There's a gorgeous hotel in Desert Hot Springs called Hope Springs with pools heated by the San Andreas fault line and amazing flowering cacti around it.

Best meal abroad?

In a noodle bar just outside Tokyo. A Japanese friend took me late at night to a truck drivers' pull-in on the motorway. We had noodles in a delicious soup. She told me that truck drivers are the most difficult people to please and are the real gourmet eaters of Japan.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Sadly, turn my mobile phone on. Then I'll go out for a walk, no matter how tired I am.

Dream trip?

The idea of having a gap year came in after I had left college so I never bummed around South-east Asia. I would like to buy a round-the-world ticket and travel like a student for a bit.

Favourite city?

Paris; when I'm taking a taxi from Dior to Galliano along the Seine it's the most drop-dead gorgeous place I've ever seen.

Where next?

To New York and then the Hamptons for the weekend. I'm doing a solo exhibition in Antwerp in September so I've been going there a lot. In July, I'm having a week in the Cotswolds with some friends, which I'm really looking forward to.

Stephen Jones has designed a Royal Ascot hat collection for the Dorchester Collection's new luxury country house hotel, Coworth Park, near Ascot

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most