I’ve been into apartments that were similar to Stefano Pilati’s, in cities like Milan, Madrid and Paris.  They may not have all been on the same scale but they did all have one thing in common: their owners were able to arrange a diverse mix of styles, textures and epochs with such verve and refinement that most of our Antipodean attempts at eclecticism seem naive and barbaric in comparison – mine included!

Stefano Pilati’s Paris duplex is far from being naive or barbaric.  Like his designs, previously for Yves Saint Laurent and now for Ermengildo Zegna, his home is sensual and elegant.  I would love to be left alone for a while, to sit in one of these magnificent rooms and just look around and absorb the general splendour of the space.

Each room in Pilati’s duplex is a veritable feast for the eyes, from the teal-painted living room decorated with a rugged collection of African carvings, to the television room with it’s Louis XVI desk, polished brass tub chair and pale grey walls hung with his collection of drawings and photographs; the study with it’s Beni Ouarain rug, monochromatic except for the futuristic, bright yellow chest of drawers; the bedroom, a pair of Finn Juhl sofas either side of a fireplace at one end and an 18th Century Italian painting (a gift from Pilati’s mother) hanging above the low, contemporary bed at the other.  Pilati believes the apartment’s most impressive component is the specially commissioned shelving system, a  sculptural assemblage of polished and lacquered wood boxes by furniture designer Martino Gamper, separating the bedroom from the smoking room, where Pilati sits each night before bed with a cigarette, and draws.

I find the dining room particularly beautiful, with its large window overlooking the garden and its mural of an autumn woodland, reminiscent of Renzo Mongiardino.  The inspiration was actually Rebecca Sharp’s London interior in the film, Vanity Fair.  Miss Sharp (played by Reece Witherspoon) had no money to decorate her townhouse so just painted the murals herself, a distraction from the sparse furnishings.