It’s often said it can take ten years to feel like a proper resident of a new metropolis. But only four years since moving to London, Hikari Yokoyama navigates her British environs like the most elegant of locals. It doesn’t hurt that the freelance curator and art consultant, who also helped found online auction house Paddle8, has a knack for melding into unknown territory: she was born in Japan, raised in Chicago, and studied and worked in New York before moving to London to join her boyfriend, White Cube gallerist Jay Jopling, with whom she now lives. Equally at home in the worlds of art and fashion—she currently stars in a Salvatore Ferragamo digital series as part of the brand’s ongoing “The Splendor of Life” project—Yokoyama’s London is one filled with deep culture and small pleasures.
Describe your London neighborhood:
I live in Marylebone, smack dab in the middle of the city. I love that London still has neighborhood dedicated to various professions. Where I live is still the place where most doctors' offices are; it was and still is the center of private medical care of London. I now no longer ask acquaintances, “How are you?” on the street, as you might get an anxious face and some mumbling about a colonoscopy. Marylebone is quite proper, and now burgeoning with French ex-pats and the type of gentrification that caters to the sensible housewife. As a friend once put it, "You can buy any number of scented candles in the neighborhood, but not a pack of cigarettes."
Describe the aesthetic of your home in three words:
Our treasure box.
What are your favorite local spots:
I love Mouki Mou; Duro Olowu’s shop; Sir John Soane’s Museum for discovery; Dover Street Market’s shop; White Cube; the Serpentine Galleries; Victoria & Albert Museum; Sadie Coles; Duke’s for martinis; food shopping on Saturday at the railway arches of Maltby Street Market; the Wallace Collection Atrium for tea; Restaurant Story for a mind-blowing dinner; Petit Maison for sidewalk lunch; the Engineer in Primrose Hill for brunch following a walk in Regent’s Park; Choosing Keeping for old books, hand-printed wrapping paper, and Japanese stationary and pens; Spring for a mouth-watering lunch; the Courthauld to reconnect with masterpieces that we take for granted; Petersham Nurseries for delicious food and lingering in the gardens.
Best place to meet an artist for drinks:
Dover Castle, the little pub in the mews near my house.
London-only food staple or restaurant dish you can't live without:
Any of the locally grown food that is served passionately at Brunswick House Café—the Hereford beef with purple artichokes and red meat radish comes to mind.
Favorite power meal spot:
If I’m east, I love Rochelle Canteen’s simplicity; if I’m central, then it would be the Firehouse. Its daytime vibe is the coziest, the tea service divine. I had the honor of working with them as they launched in London, so I feel indelibly connected to the place.
Favorite date night restaurant:
The Marks Club. The food and service are insane and I always feel like I’m a naughty teenager who’s descended into a period film full of propriety and decadence.
When going for a late, late night, you go to…
Due to the lack of really fun late, late night options for dancing in the city (if they are out there, can someone tell me, please?), usually my living room or occasionally a random location for a gathering I call Dance Club, where I text everyone on my list who likes to shake it late night rather than sit and chat. We meet spontaneously for a squiggle.
London gallery you find most inspiring?
White Cube, of course. I’m partial and lucky to be able to learn about the work from the artists themselves.
London motto you picked up since moving there: