Monday 26 August 2019

The loves of my life: Amanda Hilton Sawyer


Amanda Hilton Sawyer
Amanda Hilton Sawyer

The interiors expert chats to Chloe Brennan about her favourite people, places and things.

The person

My husband, David. We've been with each other for many years, and every day I am grateful for him. He holds me together and always has my back.

The memory

The night we met at the art bar Max Fish on the Lower East Side. He had a faint Texas drawl and a motorcycle. To an Irish girl, he seemed very exotic. On top of that, he was an English literature major and played the saxophone. We ended that night on a friend's rooftop, watching the snow fall.

The moment of the day

Sunset. I like the peace at the end of the day, when I can pause to reflect on what has been accomplished, and plan the next day.

The song

Gloria, from the Patti Smith album, Horses. It may seem a little dark, but it is so irreverent and powerful: Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine. A friend played that for me when I just moved to NYC. Coming from Ireland, which was, at the time, so conservative, it blew me away. I most recently saw her play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where three generations of women danced like crazy in the aisles. So I am not alone.

The movie

It Happened One Night is fantastic and very stylish, a romantic comedy set in the Depression, and an unintended glimpse of history. A film I love to watch for Kim Novak at her chicest, and New York in its prime, is Bell, Book and Candle. The interiors and set design are the real stars. I wish I could go back in time and transport all the art and furniture to my house.

The book

Two books. One is Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis. A shocking but prescient slice of life that I read in my 20s. The other is Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. It's the complete opposite of Less Than Zero and had a much more lasting effect on me, thank god. Each of us is on a journey; believe in yourself, stay the course and you will find where you are meant to be. That is a message that we should focus on.

The beauty product

Exfoliation is vital as we age. Dr Gross Daily Universal Peel is my favourite, and I love serums from Dr Strum. I stock up when I go back to the States. I love a bath with Pursoma detox salts, it's a real luxury at the end of the day. Always have a good red lipstick.

The outfit

Jeans, and a black tailored jacket. Every few seasons, I buy a new one. Currently, I have two in rotation, from The Row and Dior. Also, a white shirt or T-shirt. My classic Gucci horsebit loafers during the day, and, for evening, heels as high as I can walk in, preferably Chanel. A Celine bag for day, and a clutch for evening.

The person

Amelia Earhart. She went into the unknown alone and fearless. I left Ireland with $70 in my pocket. I had a sense of adventure that overcame my fears. Women like her inspire me.

The holiday

India is a trip to a parallel planet, full of indescribable experiences. Visiting Varanasi was like travelling back 1,000 years in time, it was so spiritually moving. Then there are the colours everywhere, the buildings, the women, the jewellery. So many designers go to India for the sheer inspiration.

The piece of advice

Never let someone else set your limitations. If you want something and work hard enough, you might not get it. That's life, but the process will take you somewhere you may never have expected to go, and make you the best version of yourself.

The friend

I have a lot of great friends in New York whom I really miss. I do make an effort to see them whenever I go back. We recently met two American friends in Paris for the weekend, which was so much fun. My sister, Siobhan, and my mother, Margaret, are my real besties. They are the reason I moved back to Ireland.

The celebrity

Celebrity interior decorator Martyn Lawrence Bullard - a guilty pleasure.

The virtue

Courage. It takes courage to do anything with your life.

The vice


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