The London life: Paul Sculfor
The model, actor and philanthropist talks to N.Peal about his summer wardrobe, favourite Mayfair haunts, the city's innate style and where in London he heads when the temperature rises Where in London do you live and/or work?
I live in suburban London and I work wherever work takes me! Yesterday I was in Rye in Sussex, and the day before, Seaford, also in Sussex, and I'll be working in Yorkshire soon. I simply go where the work is. I think, in the near future I'll be British-based. It's quite nice really - I'll get to see different parts of the country.
What are you most looking forward to doing now lockdown is easing?
A holiday and a restaurant would be really nice.
Are there any of your favourite haunts you can't wait to get back to?
In the UK, we really enjoy Soho Farmhouse. It's got the best facilities for kids. It's private but you can also go to the bar and see everyone. And there's a fantastic gym, which I love. We have actually booked and will be going there in a few weeks.
Where do you like to spend time in London in summer?
I've never said this before, but actually, at home as a base; because this is the first property I've owned that is a real home. I've spent so much of my life travelling and living abroad that, now I have a family, it feels great to have my home as a base. We are within easy reach of Epping Forest for walking and cycling, or Shoreditch for brunch, as well as the motorways to get out of London. When we used to live in town the park we really liked was Regent's Park, and I do still like to go there when I'm in the city.
Do you have any favourite spots in Mayfair to shop, eat, drink or visit?
Davies and Brook in Claridge's is unbelievable - it's the first London restaurant by Swiss chef Daniel Humm. I also love Oswald's in Albemarle Street, and Little House for brunch and lunch. My favourite place for breakfast is The Wolseley: eggs benedict, a side of mushrooms, as-hot-as-you-can-get cappuccino and a glass of orange juice. I do spend a lot of time in Mayfair as I use it as a place to meet people. I love the architecture. I particularly like Mount Street Gardens ... I'll nip in there to read a book, take a moment in time. As a Londoner, I'd class Mayfair as being in central London, but what's so nice about it is that it feels like a village.
What epitomises London style to you?
The skyline, the architecture, the landscape and the fact Londoners are completely free to express their style. In London, people find their own tribes to hang around with. It really is acceptable to go into a Mayfair pub in a biker's outfit and have someone standing next to you in a suit. It all fits. It's about tolerance, yes, but it's also the fun of it. You can be part of the conversation. You know you're in London because of the diversity. People think stylish means sharp and clean-cut. But it's much wider than that. And London is so varied ... you cross Oxford Street from Mayfair and go up the Edgware Road and you're in a completely different town. It's nuts.
We know you are a car fan - what's the best car to drive in London in the summer?
I'd like a different one for every summer! I love the Fiat 500 we have ... it's a happy, fun little car that you can park in any space and can spin around on a dime - it has a better turning circle than a black cab. People want to cuddle it. If it's a really nice summer, I'd drive a convertible with soft suspension and a low torque engine, like a 1988 E-reg Mercedes SL 300. I'd go for black with a tan interior trim. That's a very cool car because it's not flash and it feels slightly past its time, like an old Cheval Blanc '89 wine. You could park it anywhere ... it would be accepted in Shoreditch, Mayfair, Neal's Yard:
And what's the best song to play while you're driving through the capital's streets?
It could be Bob Dylan one day then Biggie Smalls the next. If I'm really relaxing, let's go for Rodriguez, something chilled like that. I'd probably change it when I hit Commercial Street in the East End ... to a bit of Duran Duran. Wild Boys!
Who is your favourite Londoner ... real or fictional, current or historical?
I've always loved Michael Caine. I was having brunch once in The Wolseley on my own and he was doing the same. I looked over and I was completely starstruck. I just love Michael Caine. He's a real Londoner. He's had the struggles and successes. He's someone who would shop on Mount Street but still talk with his original South London accent.
What makes London unique?
It's all about diversity; that's really what defines it. Also, when people are really up against it, Londoners stick together, regardless of age, ethnicity, background. That's something that determines the character of a city ... how it behaves in adversity. I think we've seen it at the moment, in my experience, in lockdown. In our neighbourhood, I was doing deliveries from my local store to people; most people were. It was really, really lovely. It meant so much to be able to help a neighbour who needed bread.
What pieces from N.Peal will you be wearing this summer and into autumn?
Preferably the whole right-hand side of the shop in the Burlington Arcade! But seriously ... definitely a navy blue cashmere polo shirt; I love them. And a really nice bright-coloured cashmere crew-neck sweater. They do a bright orange one called the Oxford. And they do a really lightweight dark blue zip-up cashmere cardigan with suede patches on the elbow. It's so light you could wear it now, in the summer. You can wear it with nothing on underneath as it's not transparent but just on the edge of being transparent and the cashmere feels great against your skin. It's a really lovely top. And it's something you can wear with a shirt and tie underneath, or just with jeans when you're chilling and hanging out.
When you can travel again where are you most looking forward to going?
Sardinia. Because my wife Federica's family has a home there and I am just getting to know it. There's a group of guys who organise motorcycle tours of Sardinia who I follow on Instagram, and they do rides on and off road. I must say, I do fancy that.
If London was an item of clothing what would it be, and why?
It would be a cool jacket that you can wear with anything and go anywhere in, like a corduroy sports jacket in dark blue. Pop up the collar and wear it with jeans. With an N.Peal cashmere polo shirt, of course!