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You don’t have to be British to get a load of Nicky Haslam. Although London, particularly amongst the most uppity of the upper classes, is where he most brilliantly shines. But he is also such a unique personality that he’s enjoyed and...

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Sophie Dahl

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You don’t have to be British to get a load of Nicky Haslam. Although London, particularly amongst the most uppity of the upper classes, is where he most brilliantly shines. But he is also such a unique personality that he’s enjoyed and delighted the international set and New York for years, and New Yorkers who count — or think they do — have embraced him since the Sixties. One of the fascinating things about Nicky is you never know what he’s going to look like from day to day or night to night. He changes costumes as often as a clown: clothes, wigs, hairstyles, jewelry — anything to banish boredom and reap attention, sometimes the dandy and most recently in gear that would give a rock star pause.

Parties? He is a star at every lighted candle and when he appears, the candle burns brighter. Perhaps I should also mention that he is one of the most glamorous and stylish interior decorators in the world, with such clients as the British royalty and celebrities of all colors and stripes. He is that rare thing, an original. It’s easy to love Nicky Haslam.

Now he has just written his first book, "Sheer Opulence," and the title tells it all: his decorating designs and secrets, his affinity for mosaic-gilt walls, linen carpets, silver-papered ceilings, slashed leather curtains and fabric footstools inspired by Picasso — the whole nine yards, gorgeous but eminently livable.

"Sheer Opulence" describes Nicky’s own life as well as his book. To celebrate its publication, a group of his friends from around the world filed into Swifty’s, invited by Douglas Cramer and Hugh Bush to come dressed Haslam inspired. That could be a challenge because these days Nicky tools around in torn jeans, ostrich boots and John Varvatos jackets with gold bracelets, chains galore, a diamond watch and spiked, dyed black hair. His youthful face sits atop his trim 63-year-old body, which, believe me, has been the toast of London and New York in various incarnations for 40 years.

At Swifty’s, there were pumpkins on the table filled with flowers, and English fare was served. Douglas Cramer, who loves producing parties now as much as he did TV hits like "Dynasty" and "The Love Boat," and writer Hugh Bush, whose new Fifth Avenue duplex Nicky has just installed, hosted 38 Nicky lovers, many who were Concorde-ing off to London early the next morning with him.
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