Society designer Nicky Haslam is updating his list of things that he finds vulgar.
And, I can reveal, top of his customary tea towel of what is distasteful for 2021 will be the word ‘woke’.’That’s dead common,’ Nicky sniffs.
The friend of the royals and arbiter of everything that should be avoided by those wishing to mix in polite society has confided to me that ‘swimming with dolphins’ and ‘red geraniums’ will be among his cocktail of coarse and common traits (pronounced ‘tray’) to be printed on the tea towel, or ‘drying-up cloth’ as he insists.
He is also tempted to include Netflix this year as he says ‘all those shows are exactly the same’.
But why does the 81-year-old have it in for the red geranium?
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Society designer Nicky Haslam is updating his list of things that he finds vulgar
‘They’re all right in Austria, or on Capri, but not in the gardens of England,’ he explains. ‘They are planted in rows in Buckingham Palace and look terrible. White and pink ones are fine, though.’
‘I love fake flowers,’ he adds. ‘But they have to be silk or china. Fake magnolias are wonderful. I have fake bullrushes in my garden. I have fake grass in my bedroom, as I did in my room at Eton in 1953.’
His random totems to tastelessness that have made his two previous lists include palm trees, rinsing fruit, Woman’s Hour, ‘Love’ on cushions and exclamation marks. Haslam added knighthoods to his pot-pourri in 2019, pooh-poohing the notion of wanting a gong himself. ‘I think Sir Nicholas Haslam sounds like the head of a car company in Birmingham,’ he said.
Nicky has been spending the enforced lockdown doing up his country house on the Daylesford Estate in Gloucestershire.
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: I can reveal, top of his customary tea towel of what is distasteful for 2021 will be the word ‘woke’.’That’s dead common,’ Nicky sniffs
He has been enjoying his ‘flower-bed-free’ garden of lawns and trees and arranging his planters of Stinking Irises (real).
One thing that will not be on his list is a black Pekingese puppy. He has just ordered one from ‘the best breeder in England’.
‘I’ve had about 20 over the years — the last one went to Canada and never came home. I’ve called them all names starting with the letter Z. It’s my favourite letter.’ So, no Zeds on this year’s list either.
Dame Sian Phillips has been spending lockdown learning to speak her native language again.
‘I was brought up solely speaking Welsh — but after my mother died in 1985, I had no need for it,’ says the celebrated actress.
‘Then last year I was in Wales and realised how much the language had changed. Since then, I’ve been doing two hours of Welsh every morning — and I’m almost back up to speed.’
Phillips, 87, who was married to Peter O’Toole for 20 years, adds: ‘Even if I can’t hear what a Welsh person is saying, I can understand what’s being talked about just by the sound of their voices.’
Thom and Nicole take a Hawaiian birthday dip
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Former Scottish rugby player Thom Evans is celebrating his 36th birthday in Hawaii with his girlfriend of one year, pop star Nicole Scherzinger
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: The cousin of radio host Chris Evans was in exuberant spirits as he and the former X Factor judge, 42, posed in front of the Waimano Falls
Former Scottish rugby player Thom Evans is celebrating his 36th birthday in Hawaii with his girlfriend of one year, pop star Nicole Scherzinger.
The cousin of radio host Chris Evans was in exuberant spirits as he and the former X Factor judge, 42, posed in front of the Waimano Falls.
Nicole previously dated racing driver Lewis Hamilton for seven years. ‘I’ve gone through challenges and relationships — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ she says.
‘Now I have a new perspective, and I’m really grateful to build a healthy, strong, solid foundation to my relationship.’
Speaking of her soft spot for British men, American Nicole adds: ‘Maybe it’s the accent. Maybe it’s the charm.’
TV presenter Dawn O’Porter recalls how a job commentating on society fashion at Royal Ascot for the BBC ended quickly after she was rude about the Queen.
Dawn was recalling one of her favourite vintage outfits, which she wore for the assignment: ‘Some 1980s Courrèges from the time I did BBC Radio 5 Live’s fashion coverage of Royal Ascot.’
She explains: ‘When the Queen arrived, I said she looked garish in bright pink — and they pretty much took the mic away from me after that.’
Snap! It’s a girl for Meghan’s best pal
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: A playmate for Baby Sussex. Meghan Markle’s best friend Misha Nonoo has revealed she is pregnant with a baby girl — just weeks after the Duchess announced she, too, is expecting a girl
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: The fashion designer, who lives in New York and is known for her eponymous clothing line, posted a snap on Instagram of her blossoming bump
A playmate for Baby Sussex. Meghan Markle’s best friend Misha Nonoo has revealed she is pregnant with a baby girl — just weeks after the Duchess announced she, too, is expecting a girl.
The fashion designer, who lives in New York and is known for her eponymous clothing line, posted a snap on Instagram of her blossoming bump.
Misha, who is rumoured to have introduced Meghan and Prince Harry, said: ‘My journey into motherhood has been one of the most beautiful experiences of my life.’
She had a son Leo last March with her husband Mikey Hess.
For years, conservationist Jake Fiennes has toiled in the shadows of his more famous actor brothers, Harry Potter star Ralph and Shakespeare In Love’s Joseph.
So you can imagine his delight when Prince Charles was introduced to one of his siblings.
Far from being impressed by their Hollywood glamour, HRH asked: ‘Are you related to Jake Fiennes?’
‘He knew me,’ says Jake, proudly. ‘It’s great to turn the tables.’
Serena is outshined by her mini-me
SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Tennis ace Serena Williams and Olympia, three, posed in their cossies by the pool in the backyard of their Florida mansion
Like mother, like daughter. ‘I would definitely call Olympia my mini-me, she is mini-Serena,’ commented Wimbledon champion Serena Williams as she posted this picture of her and her daughter in matching pink swimsuits.
The 39-year-old tennis ace and Olympia, three, posed in their cossies by the pool in the backyard of their Florida mansion.
While the athlete’s suit said The Shady One on the front, the little girl’s said Wild Child.
‘The Shady One and the Wild Child — together we’re unstoppable,’ laughs Serena.