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Nick Fouquet, Milliner

Nick Fouquet is a milliner of distinction. He has crowned the heads of some of pop culture's biggest stars. His creations are a blend of Alice in Wonderland and Huckleberry Finn. Half-French and half-American, Fouquet sees himself first and foremost as a gentleman. And who better than a man who knows when and how to take off his hat, to explore the art of hosting.

How do you define good taste?

Good taste is something subjective; we all have our own personal taste and colours. But I believe there's no such thing as good taste and bad taste. I define good taste as something timeless, romantic and effortless. Keeping things simple is my motto. It's good to mix and match, like mixing classical and modern, or dressing in different brands rather than in just one. It adds change and shakes things up.

What does your future taste like?

I think my future tastes sweet. I've been blessed along my life's journey, from my job as a hat maker with a beautiful brand, to living in Los Angeles. I'm grateful for the path I've taken. I see my future as being like an oyster from south western France: earthy, from the ocean so a little salty, hard to understand, regal and unconventional.

If your design or style was a drink, which one would it be?

It would probably be a bottle of 1983 from one of the First Growths Châteaux in Bordeaux, very expensive and delicious. My designs are inspired by an old French world, a fictional bohemian existence that is very bourgeois. I look at this wine as an expensive and beautiful piece of art to be shared and have fun with.

What does the art of hosting mean to you?

It means a lot of pressure and a lot of eyes on you! It's a big responsibility and one that commands respect. It's an art if done well.

When do you feel the most comfortable while being entertained?

When I'm being entertained, I feel free to be myself without having to put on a facade. I love dining in groups and hate being the centre of attention, so being a guest at a dinner is a way to move freely and have fun without constraints or a lot of responsibility.

What is your definition of a great evening? Is there a magical ingredient?

I think it's outdoor cooking with great friends. It just doesn't get better than good friends, a fire, food and music. That's my idea of a great evening and the secret ingredient is good company.

What is your guilty pleasure when it comes to food and drink?

I have a huge sweet tooth, so I indulge in good chocolate and cookies, and sometimes even put them together! It's my guilty pleasure and I occasionally pay the price for it...

What is your ideal way of enjoying fine dining with the people you love?

My idea of fine dining is good music while we're eating as well as a great meal, and most importantly, not to spend too long sitting down. Just because it's fine dining, it doesn't have to last for hours.

When you're entertaining at home, what is your secret weapon?

My cooking, at my house in Topanga.