Private Lives Public Places

Andrée Putman, Designer

In her 35-year career, Paris-based Andrée Putman has left her mark on hotels (Morgan's in New York, Le Lac in Tokyo), restaurants (Bastide in Los Angeles, Lo Sushi in Paris), even supersonic flight (Putman designed the interior of the Concorde). Her projects regularly take her around the globe and back again—she is now working on private apartments in Rome, Shanghai, Morocco, and Yokohama, not to mention a museum in Dallas and Paris' new Guerlain boutique. Between commissions, Putman holds forth on presents, parties, meals to remember, and how she keeps track of it all.

THE MOST STYLISH HOTEL ROOMS ARE AT
Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. There are things here you never see in a hotel room—great old books, amusing details, a piano in the middle of the room. But it's never overfurnished.

HOTELS SHOULD BANISH
Shampoos and soaps from their bathrooms. Everyone just wants to use their own products. I always bring my Kiehl's—the Creme de Corps.

WHEN I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF PARIS
I go to Tangiers or Marrakech. They're perfect in February and March for a few days when the weather in Paris is depressing. I do not shop there. I hate the markets where people grab your arm and try to force you to buy.

I LOVE SHOPPING AT
Thrift shops. I am fascinated by elegance and beauty among horrible things. I love stores with things that are ugly but where one or two objects are fabulous. The Spence-Chapin School shops, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, are good ones. I found cashmere twin sets and an Hermès bag for almost no money.

EVERY ROOM SHOULD HAVE
A candle. My favorite, of course, is the one I created that's sold at Moss, on Greene Street in New York.

I MUST WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN ON
Blank pages in blue schoolboy notebooks. I don't carry an organizer because it's too heavy. And I keep lists all over the office on big yellow pads—gifts to buy, jackets I own that I've forgotten about, all parts of life. To improve my memory, I quit smoking. It didn't work.

THE BEST GIFT I EVER GAVE WAS
A lithograph by Bram van Velde, to a friend who was just discovering abstract art. He is now a major collector. I like to think it was because of me.

I'VE HAD TERRIFIC FOOD
In Paris at Prunier, and, of course, at L'Ami Louis, where they serve amazing peasant dishes. It's just so much fun. I also recently ate at Aqua in the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany. I think the chef, Sven Elverfeld, is a rising star.

I NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT
• Simple black bags in different sizes from Longchamp.
• My camel-colored shatoosh shawl. I know it's illegal to buy one now, but I can't give it up. And a book with a great ending. The last time I flew I read my son Cyrille Putman's new book Premières Pressions à Froid. He didn't want me to, but I loved it.

RIGHT NOW I REALLY WANT
• Rugs from Christopher Farr in London.
• Simple, plain white sheets. They're the best for your skin.
• Furniture from Ralph Pucci in New York.

THE BEST FLEA MARKET IN PARIS IS
In Porte de Montreuil. It is not the chic one, which is why one can find important things there.

THE BEST PARTY I'VE EVER ATTENDED
Was at Andy Warhol's apartment on the Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris in 1978. I was reminded of it just recently by a photograph of me, Warhol, Bob Colacello, Tina and Michael Chow, and a girl named Larissa, who now makes the most amazing fur coats for Bergdorf Goodman.

IN MY CLOSET YOU'LL FIND
A man-style coat by Azzedine Alaia, a long skirt by Yohji Yamamoto, and a few pieces from Karl Lagerfeld's own label. When you have too many things, you don't dress as well. Three coats, two raincoats, two dresses, four shirts. Enough.

THE TRIP I'LL NEVER FORGET IS
Europe in a VW with my husband twenty years ago. Touring Europe with someone you love is something everyone must do.