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Where Our Favourite Creatives Spend The Holidays

From a feast on the Italian Riviera to a date night at Claridge’s – the festive traditions of six stylish men

  • Left: The Southbank, London. Photograph by Mr Tristan Gregory/Camera Press. Centre: The Bay of Naples. Photograph by Shutterstock. Right: Trevose Lighthouse, Cornwall. Photograph by Mr Ross Hoddinott/National Trust Images

We each have our own little rituals and family traditions when it comes to Christmas. Some of us make a point of waking up at 5.00am to put the turkey in the oven; others wouldn’t think of getting out of bed until the excesses of the previous night have worn off. Perhaps it simply wouldn’t be the same without a certain song, a certain advert, a post-lunch, mid-afternoon snooze on the sofa in front of It’s A Wonderful Life or The Muppet Christmas Carol (or even Die Hard for that matter). It can be a time for religious devotion, for connecting with loved ones or for wild, reckless overindulgence. And, of course, it can be all of the above. With so many different ways of celebrating Christmas, it begs the question: how do you do it in style? To find out, we asked a few of our friends. Here, they welcome us into their homes for the festivities.

Sir Paul Smith


  • Left to right: festive afternoon tea, the ballroom, champagne cobbler. All photographs courtesy of Claridge’s

“As someone who travels for work more or less every week, I look forward to being able to spend a bit of time in London at Christmas. It’s a wonderful time to be in the city. I don’t make a big fuss on Christmas Day. I’ll spend it with my wife, Pauline. But at some point over Christmas, we might make a special visit to Claridge’s. Pauline and I have been together since I was 21, but we still like to go on dates. Claridge’s is somewhere we love to go, particularly if we’re celebrating. It’s an overused word these days, but Claridge’s truly is iconic. Even before visiting for the first time, I’d heard so much about its fascinating history that as soon as I stepped into the polished revolving doors, I knew I was entering somewhere very special. Even now, every visit still feels like a real treat.”

What to wear

  • Paul Smith Blue Slim-Fit Stretch Cotton-Velvet Blazer

  • Paul Smith Marlowe Suede Chelsea Boots


Mr John Pawson


  • Left: Oxfordshire. Photograph by Mr Tim Graham/Getty Images. Right: photograph by Ms Gabriela Herman/Gallery Stock. Mr John Pawson, above. Photograph by Ms Orla Connolly

“I’ve been renovating a farmhouse in rural Oxfordshire, and we’ll be gathering there for our first Christmas this year. There’s holly and ivy on the property and mistletoe grows in the orchard, so we’ll use this to decorate the house. I’d be happy to leave it at that, but my wife Catherine loves to have a tree. It will be strung simply with white lights, as candles, sadly, aren’t practical. Being in a new place has made me aware of the rituals we are creating. I remember childhood Christmases in Yorkshire – my mother playing carols at the piano, the box of Cox’s Orange Pippins, the maiden aunts. Along with gatherings around the table and midnight mass in the church down the lane, what I’m looking forward to most is long, companionable walks. Moving through the bleached winter landscapes, it’s difficult not to feel exhilaration.”

Spectrum by Mr John Pawson is published by Phaidon

What to wear

  • Mr P. Houndstooth Virgin Wool Coat

  • George Cleverley Toby Cap-Toe Horween Shell Cordovan Leather Brogue Boots


Mr Luca Rubinacci

Creative director, Rubinacci

  • Left: Neapolitan nativity scene by Ms Michele Perrone. Photograph by DeAgostini/Getty Images. Centre: the Bay of Naples. Photograph by Shutterstock. Right: spaghetti vongole. Photograph by Mr Malte Jaeger/laif/Camera Press

“It’s a family affair in Naples. We usually start with smoked salmon, then my father and I delight ourselves with typical Neapolitan dishes such as spaghetti vongole and oven-baked fish, all combined with an Italian red such as Guado al Tasso. We end with Rococo biscuits and a struffoli with honey croccante made by my mother and sisters. After dinner, the whole family plays Tombola, a traditional Neapolitan game, and then we all attend midnight mass at the local church. I love our tree, made bigger and better every year by my mother, Barbara. I also love going to San Gregorio Armeno. Along the street is the presepe parlante, a nativity scene made up with real people who are dressed up for the occasion. It’s an enchanting sight and a must-see if you happen to be in Naples at this time of the year.”

What to wear

  • Rubinacci Beige Slim-Fit Linen Blazer

  • Rubinacci Marphy Leather-Trimmed Suede Loafers


Mr Alexandre Mattiussi

Creative director, Ami

  • Left: Saint-Ceneri-le-Gerei, Normandy. Photograph by Mr Calum Stirling/AWL Images. Right: photograph by Mr Edward Webb/Gallery Stock. Mr Alexandre Mattiussi, above. Photograph by Mr Yann Deret

“I spend the holidays with my family in my childhood home in Normandy, in the northwest of France. It’s a beautiful, calm place and we have a big fireplace, so the ambience is very cosy. We do a big dinner on Christmas Eve until late into the night. It’s very traditional French fare. We eat capon stuffed with chestnuts, plenty of foie gras, green beans cooked in butter, small roasted herbed potatoes. Nothing light is allowed. My father always buys a great bottle of French red, while my mother is all about the champagne. For dessert, it has to be the bûche de Noël. That’s the traditional way to finish the Christmas meal in France. It’s made of sponge cake covered in chocolate buttercream with a generous splash of Grand Marnier. It’s the final blow that puts us all into that lovely Christmas food coma.”

What to wear

  • AMI Cable-Knit Mélange Wool Sweater

  • AMI Leather and Suede Sneakers


Mr Oliver Spencer

Founder, Oliver Spencer

  • Left: the Southbank, London. Photograph by Mr Tristan Gregory/Camera Press. Centre: roast Beef. Photograph by Mr Marcus Nilsson/Gallery Stock. Right: Mr Oliver Spencer’s dog. Photograph by MR PORTER

“Christmas is spent with my wife, our three boys, the dog, neighbours, friends and any other waifs and strays that have stayed in London for the holidays. My wife is half-German, so we have a traditional German dinner on Christmas Eve, which includes roast pork stuffed wtih prunes. On Christmas Day, it’s a huge traditional roast dinner with all the trimmings, but with beef instead of turkey. We’ll already have covered that at Thanksgiving (she is a New Yorker). With lunch at 2.00pm, the morning means tons of aunts, great aunts, cousins and kids turning up. Having three young boys means that St Nicholas and the elves have to make an appearance every year, too. It’s chaos and usually ends up in a proper, good old-fashioned family row.”

What to wear

  • Oliver Spencer Clerkenwell Checked Cotton-Poplin Shirt

  • Oliver Spencer Fishtail Cotton-Corduroy Trousers


Mr Adam Brown

Founder, Orlebar Brown

  • Left: roast turkey. Photograph by Mr William Lingwood/StockFood. Right: Trevose Lighthouse. Photograph by Mr Ross Hoddinott/National Trust Images

“Christmas is a great time to get away from London, as summer is so busy. This year, my husband Tom and I will be heading to Trevose Head, a completely isolated Cornish headland with views for miles. It really feels like my place. If we were in a hot country (sometimes we venture to Mustique), I’d love to have a Christmas morning swim. But as we’ll be in the UK, maybe not. The day starts with coffee for breakfast followed by a long walk, lunch, presents, sleep and then the evening starts at about 5.00pm. Christmas is the one time of year that I binge and am happy about it. We’ll no doubt prepare traditional Christmas fare – a real showstopper featuring roast turkey, sausage, stuffing, red cabbage, roast potatoes, parsnips, lashings of gravy and masses of crackers with terrible jokes, all washed down with strong, spicy Bloody Marys and red wine.”

What to wear

  • Orlebar Brown Newland Quilted Stretch-Nylon Down Jacket

  • Orlebar Brown Lucas Slim-Fit Striped Merino Wool Sweater