Jeremy Hackett is Chairman of Hackett and is one of the original founders of the company.
A weekend job with a Bristol tailor inspired him to move to London at the age of 18, where he ended up working for John Michael in Savile Row. Here, he met Ashley Lloyd-Jennings whilst dealing in the second-hand clothes market. This partnership led to the conception of Hackett, the gentleman’s outfitters.
Where is your perfect destination and why?
I have been to India several times, and once spent a Christmas weekend in Mumbai at the Taj Mahal sitting by a deserted swimming pool sipping Nimbu Parni (a refreshing and sweet lime water of which I’ve never found the equivalent to in England). I wondered why it was so quiet, and was told that everyone had gone to Goa to stay at the Taj there. I immediately made a reservation and flew there the next day. Arriving at the Taj, I was informed that I had no reservation and the hotel was full. My taxi driver explained that a cousin of his had rooms further down the beach. So, in an ancient Austin Ambassador and over unmade roads, we arrived at our destination, sweetly named Seaside Cottages and consisting of a few scattered breeze block buildings. With the barest of facilities, it was not exactly luxury but for two pounds a night, it was a bargain and turned out to be one of my best breaks. I rented a Royal Enfield motorbike and explored the area. I stayed on to see the New Year in, dancing on the roof terrace of a beach cafe (it was a long time ago) under a perfectly clear and starlit sky; it was heaven. I once stayed at the Imperial Hotel in Delhi – a veritable feast of Colonial India where afternoon tea in the Art Deco Restaurant is a must. I am visiting India in November for British Polo day and travelling from Delhi to Jodphur for the event held in the grounds of the Palace. I can’t wait.
What do you love or find the most rewarding in your professional career?
What has motivated me throughout my career has been product. Show me a balance sheet and my eyes glaze over; I have never been much of a business man. Fortunately, we have a team who understand the intricacies of business and strategy, but without product their efforts would be of little value. When I have a germ of an idea I want to share it immediately with our design team. I want to see a sample as soon as possible and then when it goes into the shops and is really appreciated by our customers I think, yes, we’ve got it right, and I find that incredibly rewarding, always have done.
What is the best investment you have ever made?
I never really think about investment in the true sense of the word. Whatever it is starts out as an interest, whether that is in a house, a painting, or furnishings of some sort. It is only later when someone says that it’s very valuable, that I’m reassured that it’s a good investment, but it’s not something that I consider at the time..
What makes a house a home?
I love houses and interiors and often look longingly at the properties for sale in Country Life. I am forever peering into the windows of estate agents where I may see the perfect house, and then notice that the interior looks like a boutique hotel, and I wonder if anybody actually lives there. A home is somewhere that should reflect your personality and what you gather around you; that expresses your taste rather than that of a decorator who has perfectly placed the latest art books on the coffee table with the plumped up cushions just so. I remember a few years ago the editor of House and Gardens came to photograph and interview me at home. When she arrived she said, ‘I love this house: everywhere I point the camera, I have a picture.’ In fact, she loved it so much, she put it on the cover of the magazine.
What is the most memorable gift you have ever received or given?
A few years ago, I inherited a Rolex Explorer 1963. It is the most beautiful and understated watch and although I own several others, I wear this most days and will always treasure it.
What do you consider to be art?
For me, art is about conveying a feeling, a moment, an intense emotion, in whatever media that maybe.
What do you consider to be luxury?
The word luxury has become such an overused word. For instance, a developer puts up a mediocre block of flats and declares “luxury apartments for sale”. Luxury is about craftsmanship, rarity, and longevity.
If you had to choose one culture or nation, which one do you espouse or admire?
France, a country I visited for the first time when I was 15 years old and have been back to numerous times, mostly to Paris. It is a country that is very proud of its culture and heritage and French is a language I wish I could speak; if I’m honest I still struggle with English! I love the cafe society, and whenever I’m in Paris I walk everywhere, stopping at cafes along the way and people watching. French ladies are so chic and understated. I often visit the flea markets and usually come back with something.
What is your most extravagant purchase and was it worth it?
Every time I make an extravagant purchase, I convince myself at the time that it is a necessity and that it is worth it.
Who do you admire? What and who inspires you?
I could name any number of famous people but for me, my staff are whom I most admire because of their loyalty, commitment and passion for the brand, and without them Hackett wouldn’t be the success it is today
What is your motto?
Stay true to your beliefs
I would’ve liked to have been able to play the piano. The idea of coming home and sitting at a piano and playing I think would be the perfect way to unwind.
Your dream dinner guests…
I would choose Maggie Smith because I love the way she speaks. Stephen Fry, because he is a great raconteur; Joanna Lumley, because she lives around the corner and is very glamorous; Bruce Weber, who if I asked nicely would take wonderful photos of the evening, hopefully with his Pentax 6×7, and he would love my dogs, and finally, Ava Astaire, with whom I was fortunate enough to have dinner with a while ago. She could regale us with stories of her father, Fred Astaire, and tales of Hollywood. My dining table only seats six, otherwise I could have added numerous other names.
How would you like to be remembered?
Most thrilling event you’ve ever attended?
I attended the Goodwood Revival again as a guest of Aston Martin, which I’m very thankful for, and I think it’s one of the most thrilling events in the British social calendar. I love the fact that everyone makes an effort to dress for the occasion in 1940s, 50s or 60s style, and of course the classic cars are memorable. Lord March certainly knows how to put on a good show.
Your proudest moment or achievement so far…
When I realised that Hackett was not just a retailer but a brand, something I would never have envisaged when I started out. In fact, it is my only real achievement.
How do you define beauty?
This is the most difficult question because I could say, ‘I think these handmade shoes are a thing of beauty’, and someone else will say, ‘but they are just a pair of black shoes’.
What is your Aston Martin of choice and why?
The Aston Martin Rapide S which, although it has four doors, is so elegantly designed that it manages artfully to appear like a two door Coupe. When Aston Martin decide to make an SUV then without doubt that will become my model of choice, not only for me but my Sussex Spaniels, Muffin and Harry.