The first time I came to the V& A must have been when I was at college. I remember the Indian art, which was spectacular and huge and I'd never seen a Buddha so large.
What is your favourite V& A object?
It's hard to say what one's favourite V& A object is because there are so many different things to discover every time you come. It would probably be something from the archive, there's a beautiful couture Christian Dior frock that's in mint green, with matching underwear, which is spectacular. It would be hard to choose between that and the Balenciaga lace dress from about 1950.
What does the term design mean to you?
The term design means craft and it means thoughtfulness and it means solving problems and it means beauty of course, I should have said that first I think.
What is the most important piece of design in your daily life?
The most important bit of design in my life is… .. a pencil I suppose, I still draw with a pencil. Have to say though followed closely by my Jonathan Ives computer and my sat nav in my car, which is brilliant, and I never get lost anymore.
What is your greatest design extravagance?
Apart from my car, a pair of Yohji Yamamoto shoes which were just trainers but I paid £ 400 for, this was quite a while ago but they are spectacular and I wore them to death and always got comments and I still have them very carefully put aside and they're beaten up now but they still look gorgeous.
What is your favourite colour?
I don't allow myself to have a favourite colour. I wear either black but in summer I wear colour, I wear navy blue so that's my choice. But as dar as collection goes it really changes you know I used to hate purple but at the moment I absolutely love purple and we've just done this brilliant orange for summer, I'm pretending that I'm going to clothe the world in orange, but it's the most fabulous colour. You fall in love with colour all over again by mixing it, so I can't say that I've got a favourite colour.
When do your best ideas come to you?
Oh the best ideas can sneak up on you when you least expect it, you can stare at a blank sheet of paper surrounded by lovely things thinking please let me think of something soon because you've got 4 pattern cutters waiting and everybody wants to know how you're going to start a collection. You're frightened you're just frightened and then suddenly something clicks and it just all tumbles out. Often when you stop trying the channels open and yes it's all great.
What is your design bete noir?
I've always hated leg of mutton sleeves and it's a challenge every year. Every year you have to face up to something that you hate, and so every year there's something in the collection with a leg of mutton sleeve because you make yourself do it because you hate it so much.
Who is your favourite designer?
I think it must always be Coco Chanel. Simply because I think she was an absolute bitch and I think she was completely focused and didn't let anything else stand in her way, which at the time must have been quite something but also in her way she liberated women she allowed them to wear jersey, she allowed them to wear trousers that we now take for granted.
What is your favourite word?
(laughs) I should have read these questions before.