From far-flung hiking trips to carry-on eau de cologne, the French luxury shoe designer talks about journeying abroad

How often do you travel in a year and to which parts of the world?
It’s important for me to be constantly inspired, so I travel regularly. I am a curious person and I like to explore. Egypt is my homeland and I design my summer collections there because it feels hot and sunny. For my winter collections I go somewhere cold, like northern France.

On a plane, do you rest or work?
I use the time to relax and watch movies.

What do you always take with you?
I am never without my music, sleeping mask, melatonin, blue Havaianas flip flops, and silver MacBook Air.

What is your must-have carry-on item?
I carry cologne with me whenever I am travelling. My favourite is Echt Kölnisch Wasser, a German eau de cologne by Mäurer & Wirtz that has been produced for more than 200 years.

What do you like to bring home with you?
I like to find seeds from native plants to take home with me.

How does travel influence your work?
My love of travel has always been a main source of inspiration in my designs.

What is on your iPod when you are away?
British singer and songwriter Mika’s latest album, currently No Place in Heaven, will always be on there. I designed the shoes for one of his tours and then started to do a full collection, which of course he didn’t need. I ended up putting some of them in my stores.

What books do you take?
I take French biographies and books on architecture and landscape. I also admire all of the travel tales by the Polish journalist and writer Ryszard Kapuscinski, such as The Shadow of the Sun: My African Life and Travels with Herodotus. A book always has to impress me from the start.

What is your dream holiday?
Being at one of my favourite homes, which are in Portugal and Cuba.

What was your most magical recent trip?
I recently went on a hiking trip in Bhutan.

What do you like most about Mandarin Oriental hotels?
The impeccable service and the way the rooms are designed for natural light to come in.

Is there a particular Mandarin Oriental that you like best?
I like several: New York for the pool, Bangkok for the view and historic site, and Munich for the breakfast.

What is most important to you when staying at a hotel and why?
I always appreciate good service and a great swimming pool.

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