Inspiring and creative, legendary jewellery designer and entrepreneur Dinny Hall shares her favourite writers, reads and me-time secrets with us…
Imagine having your entire Central Saint Martins’ graduation collection purchased by dream department store, Liberty. That’s exactly what happened to legendary jeweller Dinny Hall. And over 30 years on, Hall is every bit as creative, not to mention that her collections just as captivating, relevant and commercially-viable. She now has no less than five shops across London bearing the name of her eponymous jewellery brand, and – rather neatly – continues to be stocked by Liberty too! Behind the scenes, it’s Dinny who’s still personally involved with every piece of jewellery the brand creates – from first sketch to shop floor.
Your favourite writers?
This one is hard for me to answer as there are so many. I love every single book Daphne du Maurier wrote, and of course I have to mention J.G. Ballard, for taking his me into his strange, bleak world which is ordinary but completely extraordinary. Today’s best story teller has to be Kazuo Ishiguro, while Flaubert’s work was so important to me as a young adult.
Top holiday read?
The Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris is right up there. This epic trilogy tells the story of the life of the great Roman orator and statesman Cicero, imagined in the form of a biography written by his secretary, I’m fascinated by Roman history and like to have favourites from that time. For a while it was Emperor Augustus, then Hadrian and now Cicero.
I would also suggest Liz Fremantle’s The Girl in the Glass Tower. It’s a stunning historical tale about Arbella Stuart, who was arguably rightful queen of England. But obviously ‘not’ because Liz is one of my best friends… I read this novel in Thailand last year, and enjoyed the contrast of imagining a lives lived long ago in cold climate while I lay under a single sheet listening out for mozzies – swat in one hand, book in another.
When and where do you read?
Sundays are best days when I have the time and space to read, mostly when we’re in Norfolk where we are lucky enough to have a farmhouse. Plane, train or us journeys are also perfect for page turning. On London week nights I only tend to manage one chapter in bed before my eyes close…
Last book you were recommended by someone?
History of a Pleasure Seeker by Richard Mason – if you really want to know, it was recommended to me by the author himself! I think he rather likes to imagine that I that lived my life a little like his protagonist in that racy tale – there’s a speck of truth in that.
The Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney, I love the earthiness of spirit – life, death and fertility. There’s a direct simplicity which I admire.
Favourite books as a child?
The Just So Stories which need no explanation why. The British author Rudyard Kipling was a complete legend.
Best trashy book?
Not terribly original I’m afraid but Terry Hayes’ I Am Pilgrim wins this hands down – all about an young Arab man with a mega grudge and the unbelievable lengths he goes to to set about his vengeance on the world. It’s a huge huge tome written by a Hollywood script writer – I was gripped and couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. In fact I started reading it in Columbo in Sri Lanka, lost it on the plane to Bangkok and had to hunt down another copy in Thailand which wasn’t easy!
Your me-time rituals?
I’m completely religious about my Pilates twice a week (for my mind and body) and my annual January spent in Thailand is, I suppose, a type of ritual for my creativity. It’s where I can really breathe and draw and dream. Also walking in Norfolk discovering hidden places that hardly anyone else seems to know.
For more information on Dinny Hall, see the brand’s website.