I spent an evening last week at Ralph Lauren's flagship store on New Bond Street for the launch of Nicky Haslam's new book A Designer's Life: An Archive of Inspired Design and Décor. (What a title!) Haslam has delved into his design archive to share the key moments in his career and the myriad inspirations for his decorating style. Essentially it's a rich, fascinating scrapbook of lavish interiors, sketches, notes, party photographs and amusing anecdotes.
A few of my favourite pages show the interior of a house in Pelham Place, South Kensington, in which Haslam lived for a time. The house used to belong to Cecil Beaton and when Haslam moved in, the rooms were (almost) exactly the same as they'd been when he lived there. Black velvet walls make a dramatic backdrop for club chairs covered with clashing purples and greens, pinks and yellows. Note Beaton's very beautiful, youthful self-portrait sketch in the corner of the left page, which Haslam acquired years before moving into the house.
The Drawing Room at 8 Pelham Place, 1963. © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s. I'm a huge fan of those decadent black walls; they really are a perfect blank canvas. Coincidentally, next week I'm going to be visiting Colefax & Fowler on Brook Street, where several of the Beaton era interiors at Pelham Place have been recreated as part of the Beaton at Brook Street exhibition.
A Designer’s Life: An Archive of Inspired Design and Décor, by Nicky Haslam, published by Jacqui Small Publishing.