House & Garden | Diary of a Somebody

Nicky Haslam

Conversations, canapés, cabaret: all in the designer’s Decorex day

Nicky Haslam

September 27 2011
Nicky Haslam

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

For the past few months we have been priming and perfecting our plans for decorating the lobby area of Decorex International, which opened on Sunday. Housed in a vast tent at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, Decorex is the trade show for designers, manufacturers of all kinds and furniture makers.

It was a huge privilege to have been asked to display the talents of NH Design in such an arena. The team have been busy with their spray cans and paintbrushes, creating the Magnificent Obsessions room. It started on Friday with press calls and interviews and the beautiful Tilly Standing modelling Philip Colbert’s sparkling sea-themed fashions, reflected in my take on a surrealist grotto.

The exhibition opened on Sunday morning at 10am and the crowds poured in. After a tour of the exhibition space organised by House & Garden, I then took part in an “in conversation” interview with Susan Crewe, the magazine’s editor, in front of a packed house, which encouraged me to speak frankly and I hope illuminatingly about my influences, work and style.

Once the organised events were over, I had the chance to visit some of the trade stands myself and see many familiar faces. It’s wonderful to see the current trends – not to say old friends – at such an event. The House & Garden party at Phillips de Pury began when the doors to Decorex closed. Tricia Guild, Veere Grenney, Nicholas Coleridge, William Yeoward and Barbara Barry were all in attendance. We were served delectable hot canapés with chilled champagne, discussing what we had seen at the show during the day.

Never one to call it a day after just one party, I then dashed to the Park Plaza Riverbank where I was a guest of Richard Swallow for a gala dinner with Liza Minnelli as the headline act in aid of the Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire. In between her shimmies and husky tones, I managed to catch up with my great friend Eugenia Mikulina, editor of Russian Architectural Digest, who is in London for Decorex, as well as the actor Dougray Scott and ravishing Emilia Fox.

As the evening drew to a close I headed back to the comfort and familiar surroundings of my house in the country, humming cabaret songs and reflecting on grottos. I have a photographer coming to shoot the Hunting Lodge, my home in Hampshire, in the morning, so no time to dwell and daydream, for in less than eight hours I will be required for another interview and more photographs: “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille.”

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