My personal style signifier is minimalism. I wear the same thing every day: a pair of Dries Van Noten trousers or Levi’s 501s, vintage T-shirts and Elder Statesman sweaters. Quality things look better and better as you wear them. They start taking on a bit of soul. I do wear colour – definitely on my socks – and I’m constantly mending things. I have a really good darning person, Aliana Mt, who is a full-blown artist.

The Elder Statesman cushions and blankets in his living room
The Elder Statesman cushions and blankets in his living room © Ryan Pfluger

A place that means a lot to me is the Four Corners, where Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona meet in the high desert above Lake Powell. I feel really high energy there. Paradise Cove in Malibu, where I live, is also very special. I’m a surfer and the beach is fantastic. It’s like its own little highway, connecting four neighbourhoods. Everybody knows each other; it’s been an amazing place to raise my daughter, Dorothy, who’s now 14. 

The last thing I bought and loved was a television. Wall-mounted TVs drive me crazy in terms of interior design, so I bought a portable Samsung Serif. You can move it around your house or hide it. I also love my new set of cheese knives with wooden handles from a little shop called Tortoise General Store. I even like the boxes, which I keep them in. I keep everything, but I don’t buy a lot. Morinoki cheese knives, from $50; Samsung The Serif, from £899;

His Morinoki knives (on board) with Rodolphe Le Meunier butter and a Haas Brothers salt cellar; the knife on the table is his Enso one
His Morinoki knives (on board) with Rodolphe Le Meunier butter and a Haas Brothers salt cellar; the knife on the table is his Enso one © Ryan Pfluger
La Vecchia Dispensa balsamic vinegar
La Vecchia Dispensa balsamic vinegar © Ryan Pfluger

The best souvenir I’ve brought home is balsamic vinegar. When I was working in Italy for the first time, I went through the city of Modena. The artisanal balsamic vinegar from there is insane. A couple of favourites I can get at home are Giuseppe Giusti and La Vecchia Dispensa.

Recent reads on vintage coffee tables
Recent reads on vintage coffee tables © Ryan Pfluger

The best book I’ve read in the past year is Barbarian Days by William Finnegan – he’s a writer for The New Yorker and this book is about his relationship to surfing. I’ve read it about five times; it’s so beautiful. They’re making it into a film; one of my neighbours, Stephen Gaghan, wrote the screenplay.

I’m in a book club that was started by my friend Nikolai Haas – one of the Haas Brothers artist duo. We’re all dads and it’s a bit like a self-help group. Recently we read The Three-Body Problem by Chinese novelist Cixin Liu, about a civilisation on another planet that picks up our radio waves. It blew my mind.

Chait with his Ayon Audio Orion II hi-fi
Chait with his Ayon Audio Orion II hi-fi © Ryan Pfluger

I don’t listen to podcasts, but I do listen to stand-up comedy, mostly on the hour-long commute from my home to my factory. My go-tos are Eddie Murphy’s Delirious and Raw shows from the ’80s. They’re hilarious. Very few people remember just how big Eddie Murphy was – larger than life and so talented.

My style icons are two buddies of mine: PC Valmorbida and Theo Niarchos, who are both in the art world. PC’s style is low-key but super-elegant, whether he’s in fancy dress or hiking. It’s just natural. 

His Ayon Audio Orion II hi-fi, $3,910
His Ayon Audio Orion II hi-fi, $3,910 © Ryan Pfluger

The best gift I’ve received is an Ayon Audio hi-fi from my dad. He’s a bit of an audiophile and this is serious hi-fi, unbelievable technology, from an Austrian company. I have the Orion II vacuum-tube amplifier and CD-player/preamp. I play digital files and records, but right now I’m in a CD phase – having a tube technology CD player is extremely niche. Ayon Audio Orion II, $3,910

The last music I bought was “Paid In Full” by Eric B & Rakim. I like older hip-hop because anything early has something pure about it; people were making stuff up and we didn’t have social media, so the sound was particular to that area. It brings me back to a place and time. 

His surfboards include (far left) one with his grandmother’s artwork and (far right) his Deepest Reaches board
His surfboards include (far left) one with his grandmother’s artwork and (far right) his Deepest Reaches board © Ryan Pfluger

I have a collection of surfboards – mostly from Kyle Albers, a shaper who owns Deepest Reaches. I surf a board called a Megafish, and I have one pretty famous – like, locally famous – surfboard, which is 9ft long in full-on colours. I probably have a few too many, which I feel guilty about, but I’ve asked Mollusk Surf Shop to give some away to kids who can’t afford to get a good one. 

In my fridge you’ll always find French butter by Rodolphe Le Meunier, as well as hard cheeses, red wine, prosciutto and Harry’s Berries strawberries if they’re around. I like tiny grocers where you can chat to the people who source everything; I go to McCall’s Meat & Fish Co

I’ve recently rediscovered a breathing technique that was taught to me by a friend I’ve been seeing for 20 years. It can take you to almost psychedelic places and shake anything off – even if only for a little bit.

The thing that I couldn’t do without is my chef’s knife. It’s Japanese: a hand-forged Aogami Super Gyuto by a maker called Enso. I couldn’t live without one very good knife.

Chait’s custom coat by Husbands Paris
Chait’s custom coat by Husbands Paris © Ryan Pfluger

An indulgence I would never forgo is private Pilates training, something I’ve got into in the past couple of years. I go to Pam Johnson, who has a studio downtown near my factory – The Bridge Mind Body Movement – and it has made me much stronger and less injury-prone. I’m not worried about ageing, but you might as well do it with grace. 

The last item of clothing that I added to my wardrobe was a trench coat made by Paris tailor Husbands. I’ve had a lot of fun making suits with them, and this coat is made from the same fabric as our woven blankets. It’s unbelievable. I’m very into blankets. We need them in LA because nobody has winter coats.

Vintage Japanese vases
Vintage Japanese vases © Ryan Pfluger
His 1964 Chevy Impala
His 1964 Chevy Impala © Ryan Pfluger

I’d have a hard time letting go of my 1964 Chevy Impala. I bought it 11 years ago when my daughter was little; I thought I might as well make the experience of driving around LA magical for her. It feels like you’re time travelling. 

The grooming staple I’m never without is unscented lotion, and that’s all I use – on my face, body and hair. There are quite a few I like; currently I’m using Embryolisse, but as long as the ingredients are natural, I’m open. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Fluide, £30.99 for 500ml,

My favourite room in my house is my bedroom. My friend Dean Levin made me a bed that is pretty outrageous. The base was made with a surfboard planer; it has an organic feel to it, but it’s also precise and refined. The one time I asked a question on my personal Instagram was, “What’s your favourite sheet company?” I had about 200 people weigh in on it. My assistant and I created a study of different sheets at different price points: the best ones were Sferra’s Giza line and Tekla. It’s a highly controversial topic. 

An old splatter-dyed The Elder Statesman sweater
An old splatter-dyed The Elder Statesman sweater © Ryan Pfluger

My wellbeing guru is Dane Ensley, who owns Reconstruction Unlimited, a service that helps you find the right therapist, psychologist, nutritionist or whoever. It’s like the Raya of wellbeing. Working with them has changed my life. They’ve matched me up with a few people; you can build a little army. 

My favourite app is Surfline. It shows you the surf live, so at work you can be like, “Oh my God, I have to leave right now! I have something very important to do!” I also use an exercise app called Sweat Deck. It’s not the most flashy app – you go through a deck of cards and each one has an exercise on it – but it’s the most effective I’ve tried. 

In another life, I would have been a chef. I’ve had a lot of lives: first interning for Whitney Houston, then in the mailroom at a talent management company. I almost went to culinary school, and, in a way, cooking is similar to what I’m doing now: using really great ingredients, making stuff by hand. I like the high-impact nature of a day, with things potentially going wrong. At home, I cook a lot of meat – I have a funny old grill – and I’m weirdly good at French toast. 

When I need to feel inspired, I drive north. I just meander with no particular destination. When I first started doing it, I ended up at Esalen Institute, a non-profit retreat founded in Big Sur in the ’60s. So many people talk about that drive up the coast, but it’s not overrated. The sunsets last forever. 

An artist whose work I would collect if I could is Chagall. Always has been. A specific one? I can’t really let my mind go that far. 

My grooming guru is Howard McLaren, who was creative director of haircare brand Bumble & Bumble, and who has been cutting my hair for more than 10 years. I don’t think he cuts many people’s hair though; you can’t just make an appointment. But he’s a genius. 

The best gifts I’ve given recently are both from The Elder Statesman. One was the Yosemite Socks, which are amazing to wear around the house. The other was one of our handwoven blankets, which I like to give for bigger occasions, like major birthdays.

The best bit of advice I’ve ever received was from my first mentor – movie producer Beau Flynn; he did Requiem for a Dream – who said: “Sometimes the best, most elegant thing to do in a situation is to walk away.” 

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window) CommentsJump to comments section

Follow the topics in this article