Celebrated jewellery designer Vicki Sarge on hitchhiking in a riot, the wild days of New York’s Studio 54 and her Big Apple neighbour, Truman Capote
BY JONATHAN WHILEY
What is your earliest travel memory?
I’m from Detroit originally and my friend Keith and I, when we were about 17 or 18, hitchhiked to Nova Scotia. I didn’t tell my parents! I’ve always been one for adventure and a bit of danger. When I was young, I used to hitchhike all over; we even hitchhiked through downtown Detroit during the Detroit Riot  to see Frank Zappa and we got chased around a little bit.
Did music form a big part of your life in Detroit?
Iggy and the Stooges played at our high school dances. I grew up with really good music in Detroit and we used to hitchhike everywhere to see the bands. I’ve always liked Motown and the rock ‘n’ roll in Detroit at that time was amazing; Alice Cooper, Bob Seger. You also had Aretha Franklin; it was really great stuff.
You lived in New York from 1975 to 1985. What are your memories of [legendary nightclub] Studio 54?
There is never going to be a place like that. People didn’t travel with security or anything, so I saw Bianca Jagger on the white horse, Cher, Truman Capote.
He [Capote] lived on the street I lived on and was very alcoholic. I lived at the end of the street, I lived on 49th Street for a while and he lived in, I think it was the same place that Johnny Carson lived on – it was a big, modern apartment building at the United Nations. There was a gay bar on 53rd Street that Capote would go to and one time I saw him literally crawling on the streets to get back home.
What is the most dangerous place you have been?
I did some teaching in Afghanistan. That was in 2008/2009. That was with Turquoise Mountain [a non-profit organisation restoring historic buildings and training artisans in communities at risk]. I went to help set up the jewellery programme and my foot was hurting and I ended up going to an Afghan hospital. I was really quite scared and a bit nervous, but the doctors couldn’t have been nicer. I remember hearing the bombs going off.
What is the most memorable meal on your travels?
When I was in Afghanistan and feeling slightly homesick, the cook there made me stuffed cabbages. I’m from a Polish background
and grew up on stuffed cabbages and it’s something I made with my mum’s recipe during lockdown.
What is your favourite meal ever?
That was at Nobu in Park Lane. My ex-husband was friends with Nobu and we had 12 or 13 courses and it’s definitely the best meal I’ve had in my lifetime.
Which locations have inspired your work?
Certain time periods are inspirational to me. I like that 70s’ Capri look. Marrakech is always an inspiration. I like that boho hippy style too.
What is your favourite place to visit?
I really love Italy and the Amalfi Coast. I have a friend who has a house there and we usually go to Naples and see my friend Thomas Dane, who has a gallery there.
What is the first place you are going to when restrictions allow?
We were supposed to go to Hawaii at Christmas. It’s where I’m dreaming of right now and as soon as we’re able, we are definitely going to be doing that.
Where do you go to eat and drink in Victoria?
Ole & Steen for hot chocolate. There is a cheap and delicious Korean restaurant, Lime Orange, near the station. There is a fantastic, very authentic Sri Lanka restaurant, Dammikas, and I can’t not mention Oliveto. I love their crab pizza and crab pasta.
38 Elizabeth Street, vickisarge.com