If you know what’s what, just a first name will do in certain very evolved milieux. In decoration land on the Pimlico Road, round the showrooms of Chelsea Harbour and in the Condé Nast corner of Hanover Square, there’s only one Nicky.
Dean of interior decorators (they’re called ‘designers’ now, but Nicky likes the old term) but not exactly famous for that, social columnist too but not exactly famous for that, cabaret singer as well but not exactly famous for that either, Nicky Haslam is principally famous for being there, looking very now (pushing eighty, his favourite outfitter these days is Topman), knowing everybody, but everybody, and saying funny things that, au fond, he really means. And for coming up with sophisticated period puns. And for having been to more smart parties across the world for more decades than anyone I can think of.
Nicholas Ponsonby Haslam – well-connected, precocious, arty, ‘visual’ and decidedly non-academic – was introduced to The Life while still at school by a variety of artistic gents: Cecil Beaton, Simon Fleet (the inspirational antique dealer, with whom he met everyone), Bunny Roger (the wasp-waisted neo-Edwardian dandy who brought