Alex De Betak shares his favourite journey spots and suggestions – and his way of life between New York Metropolis and Paris
A runway designed by Alex de Betak at the Jacquemus Menswear Spring Summer 2020 in Valensole, … [+]
Runway design master Alex De Betak is responsible for some of the most opulent, exaggerated fashion shows in the last 30 years for brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton, Victoria’s Secret and Jacquemus (who can forget the pink runway that shares fields of Provencal lavender?). His success is based on the ability to turn notoriously difficult venues into fashion spectacles under the umbrella of Bureau Betak, a production agency he founded in 1990. With a unique perspective that has become indispensable in the industry, De Betak is a man of many titles (producer, creative director, father, etc.) with jet-setters among them. The 51-year-old production mogul shares his favorite travel spots and tips and what it’s like to live between Paris and New York.
Port of Soller, Mallorca
What is your goal in each season?
Usually Mallorca because for us it is a dream and quite a break in every season. We tend to enjoy family time and flee. Whether it’s a month or a week, this place gets me going again when I need it most.
What is your favorite hotel or accommodation?
My favorite hotel is the Chiltern Firehouse in London – I’ve been there before it even opened. It always seems to be consistent on every level, from excellent service to design to comfort. Although I usually love very intimate, exclusive “non-hotel” hotels, with a few exceptions I have a few secret addresses in the world. There is one in Istanbul for example Asli Tunca – a fantastic and beautiful discreet location, maybe now one of the few places you can visit during COVID. Big cities aside and for practical reasons, my family and I try to stay in places that are a little off the radar and intimate during the vacation.
The Andes, Patagonia
Where do you go to get inspiration for upcoming productions? What inspires you about this destination?
Discovery inspires me, all trips, especially new destinations. I would probably go back to Iceland and keep exploring. I would also like to return to Antarctica in general. I like the extreme. I also like to go back to Patagonia every year. I’m lucky enough to have a family who love to travel as much as I do, so we love to explore. We not only travel a lot for work, but also a lot for pleasure. We make sure we keep going. There are many destinations that we like to like, southern Japan, northern Japan where we can explore and discover different places to stay, preferably one or two bedroom hotels.
My wife and I love to research and always find the right jobs. Everything is available online to explore different locations. Airbnb is an excellent resource too. I recently found a home on a fishing island near Naoshima through Airbnb. We stayed with the owners of the house and went fishing with them and it was breathtaking. An irreplaceable experience. Although there was a huge language barrier and no tourism on the island, Airbnb gave them access to open their homes to people like me – we treasured an excellent time together.
New York or Paris?
I can’t choose between them. one complements the other so well that I couldn’t leave one aside. The places work as a package for me. I’ve lived with a complementary routine for the past 25 years and have always had both. Once you get used to it, you can’t get used to it that easily.
Yen in Paris
Favorite French restaurant?
Surprisingly, I don’t eat a lot of French food. I prefer Japanese or Italian. My favorite Japanese restaurant in New York is Omen in SoHo, and my favorite Japanese restaurant in Paris is Yen in Saint Germain des Prés.
What is an item of clothing that you take with you on all your travels?
In this case, I am fortunate that what I love most is to travel as lightly as possible. Since I have personal items in both cities, I don’t even have to travel with hand luggage. Sometimes I travel with absolutely nothing; The only things that come with me are my passports, blue light glasses, and my iPhone – which I don’t even want to use one day, in fact I consider it a boring part of my life. My idea of freedom and the joy of traveling is not necessary at all.
Your favorite travel hack. What items do you always travel with?
Travel lightly and discover the local area: handicrafts, craftsmen, brands, factories, workshops. I don’t like to overbought. I prefer to shop vintage and enjoy finding last minute local necessities that remind me of this place and help support local businesses.
How do you find out about these local places? Where do you do your research or is it mostly word of mouth?
I usually open Google Maps in the satellite view and slide my finger on the screen to see the streets. I keep the addresses. One place leads you to another, especially as you explore the local artist studios and learn about their cultural traditions. These elements make an experience something special. Even at Airbnb, it’s really great how families and homeowners who open their homes to you can sometimes give the best advice to local finds.
A dish from Estela
What are your favorite spots or holes in the wall in New York?
Estela and Omen are one of my favorites. The Arcade Bakery (now closed) is a big hole in the wall cafe in Tribeca. Also great for coffee on Saturdays and at the O ‘Cafe Studio in Bushwick. Another hidden find is Milon, a Bangladeshi restaurant with Christmas lights outside. I also love Sushi Azabu in front of the Greenwich Hotel. Although I go to my friend Yann Nury’s for special culinary experiences, he is an excellent cook. It has a stunningly designed travel kitchen that can go into your garden, house or apartment and cook for you. He’s really amazing. We have made many exciting events together.
If you had 24 hours in New York, what would you do?
I’ve been here for over 25 years and with all of my love for it I would probably have adventures out of town, maybe somewhere closer to nature. It’s all relative to your own life; I would enjoy a fantastic bed or run in the woods or for the best. I love to discover something in the forest somewhere in the hinterland.