Redeeming Features: A Memoir

By Nicholas Haslam

From British inside fashion designer Nicholas Haslam, a blinding and witty account of a frenetic and whole life—from the Nineteen Forties to the present—in Europe and the US, in a crowd of neighbors and friends that comes with nearly the entire cultural icons of our time.

Haslam has chanced on himself on the heart of a few of the main attention-grabbing circles at any place he is—at events, establishing nights, royal weddings. In London within the past due Nineteen Fifties he crossed paths—and more—with Cecil Beaton, Francis Bacon, Diana Cooper, Greta Garbo, Lucian Freud, David Hockney, David Bailey, and Noël Coward. A time dwelling within the nonetheless unspoiled south of France was once an schooling in every little thing from the paintings of Buñuel to the fashion of toreros like Dominguín and Ordóñez. In Paris he met Jean Cocteau and Janet Flanner, and, in Saint-Tropez, danced with Brigitte Bardot. within the Sixties, in ny, he encountered Dorothy Parker, Cole Porter, Andy Warhol, Jack Kennedy, Joan Didion, and Marilyn Monroe whereas operating within the artwork division at Vogue and later as artwork director, following Henry Wolf, at Huntington Hartford’s Show journal. After Show, Haslam moved to a ranch in Arizona to elevate Arabian horses—Truman Capote and John Richardson, between others, got here to stay—and he begun designing and commuting to la to accessorize for the stars.

Back in England within the Eighties, he labored on David Bailey’s Ritz journal, attended the marriage of his cousin Diana Spencer, and designed for everybody from the financier James Goldsmith to rock superstar Bryan Ferry.

Redeeming good points is approximately even more than documenting a existence one of the celebrated and the eccentric: it's a bright, every now and then funny and relocating portrait of a life-style that has all yet disappeared. Haslam has an exacting eye for the telling aspect and his tale is a compelling and absolutely interesting record of our instances.

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One other membership, Leon Maybanke’s Calabash, was once a extra beginner affair, in a bit studio apartment off the Fulham street, its inside as kitsch because the identify may indicate. The clients was once light-years clear of the Rockingham’s, consisting regularly of the emergent “Chelsea-look” boys, myself incorporated, donning slim black trousers, pointed boots, and tieless white shirts. Leon fancied himself a photographer, even publishing a e-book containing pictures of his consumers akin to Anne Bancroft, Victor Spinetti, and Brendan Behan. He incorporated considered one of Min, which we proposal was once the peak of popularity. there has been additionally Claire’s, within the similar highway as Kettner’s, a sleazy dive run via an outdated theatrical Jewess. It appeared thrillingly naughty to its devotees like myself and Christopher Gibbs and our nice buddy from Paris, Rod Coupe, for being open, as soon as one had won Claire’s belief, after hours. There, past due within the evening, a few of Claire’s much less salubrious acquaintances from the East End—gangsters and their flick-knife-carrying boys—would assemble to debate how the evening’s extortions had long past. there has been one tiny homosexual espresso bar, the Mousehole, in Swallow highway, the place dark-eyed and curly-haired overseas waiters collected ahead of and after mealtimes. It was once right here I met David and Graham, lovely, a laugh boys operating within the model company who have been brazenly homosexual and residing jointly, which appeared romantic and courageous in so younger a pair. With them i'd visit the 2 I’s, turning into often called the “new” track venue, simply up the line in previous Compton highway, the place Tommy Hicks, approximately to be renamed Steele, and Terry Nelhams, quickly to be Adam religion, produced unexpected sounds from strange-shaped electrical guitars. I fancied Lionel Bart, a stocky Jewish composer, his tight matches as modern as his close-cut hair, plotting his musical Oliver and engrossed in expertise or exchange recognizing. extra bravely, I’d visit the 2 Soho pubs the place bohemians collected, the French Pub or the trainer and Horses, becoming a member of writers like Colin MacInnes, doubtless garnering fabric for his novel Absolute novices, and Simon Raven, or filmmaker John Sutro and the louche-eyed and lank-haired younger Mark Sykes, father of Plum and Lucy, whose famously undesirable habit, a laugh or even endearing whereas he used to be nonetheless younger, ultimately grew to become insufferable and embarrassing. It was once a reduction whilst he was once shipped out to Australia. ONE summer season, the summer time we have been all making a song alongside to “Tell Laura i admire Her,” a Sunday lunchtime membership was once began by means of Patrick Walker in Tachbrook highway in Victoria. ingesting in a backyard in sunlight with loads of boys was once a unique adventure, yet a frisson was once additional to the ambience by means of the rumor that Patrick had driven a recognized astrologer, Celeste, who’d lived at the most sensible flooring, down the steps to get her task on Queen journal. definitely Patrick turned a stargazer, for it slow carrying on with Celeste’s column, and at last turning into hugely esteemed less than his personal identify. Bunny may question me to hitch him for lunch within the Spanish Bar, a small eating place with embossed-leather decor hidden within the depths of Fortnum & Mason, the place he went approximately on a daily basis.

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