The Top Five Of Almost Everything

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The Top Five Of Almost Everything

Words by Mr Tom M Ford and Mr Dan Rookwood

18 February 2016

At MR PORTER, we recognise the value of a long read. But we also appreciate that attention spans aren’t quite what they used to be. So, since it’s our fifth anniversary, we decided to organise everything we love into all-time top five lists. When we say “everything”, we don’t actually mean all data in the known universe. That would be, well, impossible. So we picked 10 topics that best represent the MR PORTER world and (hopefully) the interests of you, our readers, and asked an expert in each field to pick their favourite examples. From Mr Jason Atherton on restaurants to Mr Walter Iooss Jr on sports icons – read on to find out the MR PORTER top five list of “everything”, ever.


by Mr Lapo Elkann, Italian entrepreneur and car fanatic

  • Fiat 500 Jolly (1957-1965)

This was designed by Ghia, one of the great artisans of 1950s and 1960s Italian car-building. It’s probably my favourite car in the world, the quintessence of Italian grace.

  • Ferrari 250 GTO (1962-1964)

It was a racing car, but has a timelessness that transcends fashion. It’s a car that remains a great source of inspiration for car designers the world over.

  • Ferrari 250 GT California Spider SWB (1960-1963)

One of the most elegant, perfectly proportioned Ferraris ever made. It’s as graceful and desirable as a Rembrandt or Matisse.

  • Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic (1936)

An aesthetic masterpiece. It’s an art piece that offers inspiration to creatives, designers, architects and thinkers from all industries.

  • Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport (1930-1932)

Alfa Romeo has produced so many iconic cars it’s difficult to choose. But the 1750 GS was such a pretty prewar car. And effective: Mr Tazio Nuvolari won the Mille Miglia with one in 1930.


by Mr Nick Hornby, award-winning author

  • The History Of Mr Polly by Mr HG Wells (1910)

Mr Wells isn’t read as much as he deserves, even though his science fiction continues to influence movie-makers. This comic novel about a lower middle-class shopkeeper shows his wit, soul and sympathy for the ordinary guy.

  • I Capture The Castle by Ms Dodie Smith (1948)

Most women I know read this book when they were teenagers; most men I know seem to have missed it entirely. But it’s fresh, charming and eccentric.

  • The Compleet Molesworth by Messrs Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle (1958)

You should have as many copies of this book as you have rooms in your house. A creation of comic genius, and a permanent comfort.

  • Father And Son by Mr Edmund Gosse (1907)

The first misery memoir, this is an account of the author’s unhappy upbringing in a scarily devout Plymouth Brethren household. But Mr Gosse has perspective, empathy and a mordant wit.

  • David Copperfield by Mr Charles Dickens (1850)

There are well-educated people who have never returned to Mr Dickens after the trauma of reading him at school. They are missing out. Mr Dickens at his best, and David Copperfield is his best, is heartbreaking, hilarious and gripping.

Brooklyn – for which Mr Hornby wrote the screenplay – is available on Blu-ray, DVD and EST from 29 February


by Mr Richard Godwin, author of The Spirits

  • Martini

There is nothing so bracing in the world as an Arctic-cold gin Martini. Try four parts Hepple gin to one part Dolin dry vermouth with a lemon twist.

  • Daiquiri

In its purest form of light rum, lime and sugar, balanced three-ways, the daiquiri approaches liquid alchemy. El Dorado three-year-aged rum will lift it to the heavens.  

  • Negroni

The classic bittersweet Italian aperitivo whets the appetite like nothing else. One sip and you’re all, “What’s next?” 

  • Vieux carré

For the other end of the night, the classic New Orleans digestif rounds things off with unmatched decadence. It's a twist on a Manhattan, given a French accent by added cognac and Bénédictine.

  • Rum punch

Everyone should have a decent party punch recipe up their sleeve. Dark Jamaican rum, fresh passion fruit and lashings of Angostura bitters, mint and nutmeg are the secrets to my own.


by Mr Ben Clymer, founder of HODINKEE

  • A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1 (1994)

When Lange re-launched in 1994, it did so with German-made mechanisms in its timepieces that put the Swiss to shame. The Lange 1 was a new take on the everyday watch and, 20 years later, is still an all time-classic.

  • Cartier Tank Cintrée (1924)

The Tank Cintrée is the embodiment of early 20th-century elegance and style. Mr Ralph Lauren once told me that there is no watch that represents an entire world, or way of life, better than a Cartier.

  • IWC Mark XI (1949)

There has never been, nor will there be, a purer watch design than the Mark XI. Built for the armed forces, it combines high-grade chronometric performance with true utilitarian design.

  • Patek Philippe 2526 Calatrava (1953)

Nothing represents the quiet excellence of Patek Philippe, the holiest of holy watch brands, like the 2526. Featuring the brand’s very first self-winding movement, it hasn’t been bettered since in terms of build or performance.

  • 1960s Rolex Daytona (Reference 6239) (1963)

This watch changed Rolex and watchmaking for the better – from the supremely elegant 37mm case and steel tachymeter bezel, to the contrasting sub dials, to the overwhelming functionality of the whole thing.


by Mr Jason Atherton, restaurateur and chef

  • Il Luogo Di Aimo E Nadia, Milan

I don’t usually go to high-rated Italians as you can go to the local trattoria and eat just as well. But this has two Michelin stars and is absolutely sensational.

  • The Araki, London

You have to remortgage your house to eat here, but for me, this is the best sushi outside of Japan. It’s very traditional.

  • Saison, San Francisco

This is perfection. The food is not too rich, not too heavy. You are taken on a trip through Asia, with Western sensibilities. The desserts are so light.

  • 11 Madison Park, New York

Mr Daniel Humm is one of the most inspirational chefs around. The way he runs his business is second to none. Whenever I go to New York, I try and grab a dinner there.

  • Flocons De Sel, Megève

This is the best neighbourhood restaurant in the world. It’s a wooden chalet in the French Alps with three Michelin stars.

Classic sneakers

by Mr Simon Wood – founder of Sneaker Freaker

  • Reebok Club C 85 Vintage (2016 reissue)

An oddball sneaker that just turned up a few days ago, this is a perfectly timed retro style that proves that simplicity never gets tired.

adidas is killing it right now. The Primeknit uppers and boost cushioning has forged a serious following since it debuted last year.

  • Puma Blaze Of Glory (Bloodbath) (2015)

The Blaze of Glory is a curious amalgam of 1990s influences. This was a collaboration with Sneaker Freaker that melted the sneakernet when it dropped back in October 2015.

  • Nike Huarache Light (1993)

The OG Huarache from 1991 is always on high rotation in Nike fanboy closets, but I prefer its hybrid step-sister, the Huarache Light. Nothing reeks of aficionado status more than this.

  • Nike Zoom Spiridon (1997)

Mr Michael Johnson’s Zoom Spiridon is a challenging work of art. The metallic appliqué Swoosh is bananas. The cherry on top is the miniscule tick slapped on the toe box.


by Mr Jeff Klein, owner of Sunset Tower Hotel, Los Angeles

  • La Mamounia, Marrakech

This is an opulent Moroccan palace in lush gardens looking out to the Atlas Mountains. It has four restaurants, two of which are Michelin starred, and a world-class hammam spa.

  • Il Pellicano, Tuscany

A timeless, family-run place on a Tuscan clifftop, which has been a playground for Hollywood A-listers and European royalty for 50 years, as documented in the photographs of Mr Slim Aarons.

  • Post Ranch Inn, California

A jaw-dropping spa hotel on the cliffs looking out along the dramatic coastline of Big Sur, just off the scenic State Route 1.

  • The Carlyle, New York

Elegant and classic, The Carlyle has catered to presidents and royalty, but treats regular punters just the same. 

  • El Garzón, Uruguay

This is a five-room hotel in a small Uruguayan village of Garzon owned by the incredible Argentine chef Mr Francis Mallmann. It is heaven on earth.

Sports icons

by Mr Walter Iooss Jr, award-winning sports photographer

  • Mr Bjorn Borg

No one had ever seen anyone like him before. The way he played, the way he dressed, the way he walked. He was like a rock star.

  • Mr Arnold Palmer

You couldn’t take a bad picture of him. To this day, he has a real magnetic personality. He was one of the first sports stars to have a private jet.

  • Mr Walter “Clyde” Frazier

He got his nickname when he wore Borsalinos at the same time as the classic gangster movie Bonnie and Clyde (1967) came out. With his fur coats, sideburns and Rolls-Royce, his style was more pimp than gangster.

  • Mr Michael Jordan

He really raised the bar for how sportsmen dressed. He made athletes in suits look good. Also, he created one of the most successful sneaker lines of all time.

The profile of most athletes shrinks when they retire. But Mr Beckham seems to be bigger than ever. He gets better looking, he seems more stylish, he develops more character.


by Mr Dan Cairns, The Sunday Times pop critic

  • Illmatic by Nas (1994)

Mr Nasir Jones’s debut is rightly regarded as one of the true hip-hop masterpieces, its unblinking mean-streets-of-Queens reportage balanced with humour and hope.

  • Paul’s Boutique by the Beastie Boys (1989)

As bewildering and unexpected a second album as has ever been released, Paul’s Boutique swapped Licensed to Ill’s rock-rap for a dense, psychedelic, sample-heavy soundscape.

  • The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars by Mr David Bowie (1972)

On 6 July, 1972, Mr David Bowie slung his arm around Mr Mick Ronson’s shoulder as they performed “Starman” on Top Of The Pops, and a star was born. Surely The Dame’s most audacious album.

  • What’s Going On by Mr Marvin Gaye (1971)

What’s Going On’s mix of mellifluous soul, deep grooves, heartbreaking melodies and alternately raging and despairing state-of-the-nation polemic is hair-raising.

  • Rubber Soul by The Beatles (1965)

The key moment in the Fabs’ catalogue, Rubber Soul captures a band with one foot in their moptop past, the other dipping its toes in musical experimentation and lyrical sophistication, and pointing the way forward.


by Mr Tom Daxon Bowers, the nose behind Tom Daxon

  • Après L’Ondée by Guerlain (1906)

Translates as “after the rain shower”. Mr Jacques Guerlain understood that it’s far better to create a setting people can attach their own romance to, long before marketing men and their basic conceptions of romance.

  • Sycomore by Chanel (1930)

I’ve always felt there are precious few factors when it comes to what women find sexy in a man (and taken comfort from that). Sycomore though, the richest woody vetiver, I think must be one of them.

  • Carnal Flower by Frédéric Malle (2005)

An animalic tuberose and the first proper floral that I wanted to wear.

  • CK one by Calvin Klein (1994)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fragrance itself, but it’s the era defining nature of CK one that appeals to me so much; it just sort of is the 1990s in a bottle.  

  • Iridium by Tom Daxon (2013)

Even though I don’t pick favourites among my range, I’d be remiss not to include at least one of my own. Right now, I’m wearing Iridium; a dry, modern iris with gin notes.

Illustrations by Mr Laurindo Feliciano