Becky Fatemi: ‘If I don’t love it, I can’t sell it’
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My personal style signifiers are accessories. I wear a lot of vintage Chanel, Bulgari and a Cartier watch that belonged to my mum. When we left Iran in 1979, we left with nothing and all my mum took was a little bag of her jewellery, including the watch and a diamond signet ring. I could always tell if we had guests coming round as the accessories would come out, so for me it was all about accessories, ever since I was a kid. And red nails – I always have red nails.
The last thing I bought and loved was a black handbag by Loewe – it’s moon-shaped with a branded strap – and an incredible yellow puffer by a young new designer called Yeboah. It’s not very estate agent-y but I think that kind of characterises me – I’m very different to most agents. Cos x Yeboah puffer, £250, cos.com
A place that means a lot to me is Ibiza. It’s my magical place. The first time I went, I was 17 and did the San Antonio side and found it carnage. Then Naomi Campbell introduced me to a different side of the island when I was in my mid-30s and I fell in love. Now I go every year for six weeks. I rent the same villa near Jesús: it’s a little, rustic four-bed, not flashy at all. I’ll pack eight suitcases and only wear one set of things and my son runs around naked. It’s just bliss.
And the best souvenirs I’ve brought home are shells from the beaches in Ibiza that I collect with my son. I bottle them up by each year that we’ve been and keep them in my bathroom, and in his bedroom.
The best book I’ve read in the past year is Effortless: Make It Easier to Do What Matters Most by Greg McKeown, which was given to me by a friend, the designer Marc Jacques Burton. It’s taught me that slowing down makes you far more productive. As an entrepreneur with ADHD, no one can keep up with the speed that I move at, so slowing down for my staff is a necessity.
The podcast I’m listening to is The Real Rendezvous, a great podcast hosted by two fantastic women in property, Caroline Donaghue and Priya Rawal. They’re trying to make the industry more diverse and push boundaries. They had the woman who I believe is the former chief administrative officer of Canary Wharf Group and her episode was great. She was like, I get up at 5am, I meditate, I drink lemon and water, and I thought, OK, I need to deal with this… but it was really inspirational hearing how another woman juggles everything.
My style icon is Yasmeen Ghauri. She was one of the iconic ’90s supermodels and she was pivotal for me because she was the only model who looked like me. And also Grece Ghanem, who is a fashion influencer in her late 50s. She’s just iconic. She proves that you can be older and dress how you like. I dress quite young – I like my Air Jordans and Dr Martens – so she gives me hope that I can carry on with that journey.
The best gift I’ve given recently was giving Reece Yeboah the opportunity to collaborate with COS Stores and show his collection at Tate Modern. He got in touch with me five years ago just before I set up my mentoring charity [Shadow to Shine, of which Yeboah was an alumnus] and his brand at the time, Saint London, was being sued by the NFL for the breach of the name. I was endeared by his tenacity because I had lost that energy and vibrancy, so he ignited my fire again. instagram.com/reeceyeboah
And the best gift I’ve received is a little paper origami chatterbox that my son made me as a sorry. You open it up, and it reads “I’m sorry”. And then you open it up again and it says, “I’m really sorry”. And then you unfold it, and it says how much he loves me. It now sits on my desk.
The last music I downloaded was Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies by Snoh Aalegra, who’s an Iranian-Swedish artist. It’s R&B, very Sade. She’s super-cool.
I have a collection of sunglasses. I think I currently have about 400 pairs, which I keep in Muji acrylic organisers. There are vintage sunglasses that belonged to my mum as well as ones by new brands such as Philo and AOI. Every time I travel, I buy a pair so they are memories of every summer and winter in my life. Some people buy fridge magnets, I buy sunglasses.
In my fridge you’ll always find Symprove, which is a probiotic I take every day; turmeric – I live on turmeric. Ginger and lemon – I put lemon on everything – and pickled garlic. We Iranians live on everything pickled. And chocolate oat milk for my son.
An indulgence I would never forgo is Royal China Club on Baker Street. I used to go once a month and now I go every week – sometimes by myself. I know all the staff and I’ve got my table, number 44, in the corner. It’s my absolute favourite Chinese restaurant. I get the roast duck off the bone with Chinese broccoli with ginger followed by the custard buns.
I’ve recently rediscovered beans on toast. My son is obsessed with beans on toast. Also, Marmite and brown sauce. Living through a nine-year-old and seeing his excitement over beans on toast makes me remember how I felt when I first ate them. I remember revisiting beans when I was a student and thinking this is budget brilliance.
The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe is a second-hand navy-blue men’s YSL suit that I bought from Etsy. Men’s suits tend to fit me better. I try to shop sustainably and wear a lot of vintage.
An object I would never part with is my malachite. It’s a stone that was given to me by someone very special and I carry it with me all the time. It protects you and gives you love. I also carry a big evil eye with me as well, which is my good luck. You’ve got to be prepped in my industry. When I sell houses, I also sell energy – every house I walk into is a different energy.
The beauty staple I’m never without is Skin Design’s The Vitamin Peels Collection. It’s the skincare line by my facialist, Fatma, who is based in MatchesFashion in Carlos Place. She is probably the best facialist in the world. Everyone goes to her – they might not say they go to her, but everyone does. There are five things I have to do as part of the regime: a night cream, a morning cream, a day cream… and when I do it religiously, my skin is unbelievable.
My favourite building is anything by Zaha Hadid. She did a house in Russia for a private client in the middle of the forest, and I loved what she did at the Serpentine. Her work is just so futuristic but classical and I find the curves and the lines just very pleasing.
In another life, I would have been a media mogul. I would have been the head of a talent agency or a Rupert Murdoch, but nicer. Last year, I coordinated Edward Enninful’s wedding, a half-a-million-pound party for a billionaire in Mayfair, and I also did an event for Kim Jones at the Royal Academy for Fendi, and that was because property was making me no money. My team wears both hats.
My beauty and wellbeing gurus are Sonia Elsey at The Nomad for massages, Gielly Green for waxing, and Nails by Annie in Baker Street for my nails – she’s amazing.
The works of art that changed everything for me were by Slawn, who is a young artist I collect. He’s originally from Nigeria and came over to London and he does kind of Keith Haring graffiti. The police raided his flat once because a neighbour thought he was stealing art. Now his pieces sell at Sotheby’s for thousands. I first reached out to him on Instagram because my son wanted to buy one of his pieces of art with his pocket money when he was seven years old. He thinks he paid for it but I had to chip in an extra £550.
When I need to feel inspired, I meditate or go to The Wallace Collection in Marylebone: that’s my little hideaway. I walk around The Wallace Collection on my own quite a lot. It’s amazing in there. It’s room after room of beauty.
My favourite room in my house is my bedroom. It’s my little sanctuary and where I escape and have peace. It’s just my place that no one goes into so my cleaner doesn’t go in there, and I have a key on the door. It’s just my little safe house.
The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Basquiat. I love that it’s very political; you know the stand that he took, it’s a different way of looking at graffiti, which is how he started. He revolutionised the way I look at things.
The best bit of advice I ever received was “Each one, teach one” which Virgil [Abloh] said to me, meaning what you have, share it with another person. And never try and reason with madness. I work with some of the wealthiest and most successful people in the world, and while I wouldn’t define what they do as madness, there’s definitely a way that they work that is just beyond – so I don’t try and rationalise it or reason with it. I just deliver what they need me to deliver. That’s saved me a lot of time. Also, when there is a client that you’re not on the same wavelength with, I just step away. Rokstone had its best year last year and I think that’s a lot to do with saying no. If I don’t love it, I can’t sell it.