My Luxury Life: Jean-Christophe Babin

The chief executive of Bvlgari on his favourite haunts and hobbies.
The chief executive of Bvlgari, Jean-Christophe Babin at Dubai Design District. Reem Mohammed / The National
The chief executive of Bvlgari, Jean-Christophe Babin at Dubai Design District. Reem Mohammed / The National

Jean-Christophe Babin was born in France to a family of lawyers. He attended business school before travelling the world as a part of the French navy. He has worked at Procter & Gamble, Henkel and TAG Heuer, and was appointed as chief executive of Bvlgari in 2013. He has five children, speaks four languages and lives in Rome

You are sitting down to the perfect meal. Where are you and what are you eating?

I love Asian food. I have to say that north Indian food, such as biryani, is something I really appreciate. Where would I eat it? Probably in one of those maharaja’s palaces, which somehow embody an art of living that is very luxurious but at the same time very tasteful, by people who used to be great art lovers. So the surroundings will somehow glorify the food.

Where are your favourite shopping districts?

For me, my shopping malls are airports. Being very busy, I have to be very efficient and as I have so little time with my family, I don’t want to spend that time on a Saturday or Sunday shopping. So usually I take advantage of the time I have waiting for my next flight to pick up that missing tie or missing shirt.

Your favourite city?

I love Shanghai. It’s full of energy. Artistically, it’s the city where you find the most amazing skyscrapers designed by the best architects in the world, but it also has that sense of history. It’s very energising.

You are going on holiday and can only pack 10 things. What are they?

First, I’d take my rucksack because I like backpacking. Then I would have very functional things: shorts, a dive suit because I like diving, T-shirts and my Bvlgari Diagono because it’s a great sports watch for every occasion; it can be chic in the evening but also resistant in the water at 50 metres if you dive. And always my iPhone because I like to stay connected and take photographs.

Is there anywhere you haven’t travelled to but would like to?

I have never been to Peru. I would love to do the Inca Trail and go to Machu Picchu.

What was your first luxury purchase?

Luxury is very much defined by your purchasing power and your maturity. The first time I felt like I had purchased something expensive and luxurious was probably in 1998, so relatively recently, when I bought my first expensive watch, a TAG Heuer. It was purely a coincidence but destiny made me the head of that brand two years later.

What is the most overrated luxury?

To me, luxury must be long-lasting. I do not consider luxury to be something that you can enjoy and then just forget about the next morning. It has to trigger memories.

Are you a collector?

If I had more space, I would be a car collector. I am a watch collector to a certain extent – like many men, I like watches.

What’s your favourite car?

Obviously, being Italian, I’m a Ferrarista.

What does your dream home look like?

Believe it or not, my dream home is the one that I have. I found a house on Aventino Hill in Rome. This hill is incredible because it’s right in the heart of the city but it’s like living in Tuscany because there are few houses, beautiful gardens and huge vine trees.

sdenman@thenational.ae

Published: December 18, 2014 04:00 AM

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