NICKY SUMMER: Ready for business after lockdown? I am. This is the type of ladylike ensemble I wear for mid-morning presentations to my interior design clients. After everything relating to the decor and furnishing has been discussed, I generally take them somewhere decent nearby to finalise the details of scheduling, timing, budget, etc. We do that as early in the day as possible because psychologically we all tend to be at our most decisive before lunch, rather than after. With new clients, it’s also very important to build rapport, trust and discover exactly how they prefer to live. It’s during these social interactions, over a meal or a drink, that something significant will often be dropped into conversation i.e. the client has recently made major changes in their life, or they have a new pet, or they don’t like a certain fragrance, or prefer a certain type of audio/visual brand, or they don’t like plants, or they love Thai cuisine, or they have recently visited a hotel I know and would like the lighting replicated in their home. I remain very conscious of all these minor details (that often turn out to be not so ‘minor’); a small detail such as the wrong scent in a room, that conflicts with the client’s personal taste, can throw the whole vibe off-key for them. On my interiors projects, the client and I have a very equitable relationship and if we’re not already friends at the outset, then we are by the end of the process; I treat my clients as adored personal friends that I truly care about in order to do my best work…they can sense that in the personally tailored ambience my team and I produce in their home.
As a woman, amongst the very first things other women ask me are a) Who does your hair? b) Where do you shop for clothes? c) What do you do as a career? These questions are natural ways of opening a conversation and discovering common ground between us. At this time of year, I’d normally be attending formal social events every weekend prior to the summer break, so I’d have already sorted out my evening wear and day dresses. I always buy classics and one of my favourite boutiques is Louise Kennedy in Belgravia, London; the unique collection of coordinating separates in summery colours is exceptional. Dresses with matching day coats (like this pink one in the video clip) hang alongside luxurious wraps, special occasion gowns and evening purses (ie the blue snakeskin and chrome-trimmed purse seen here). When weddings, horse racing and royal garden parties eventually commence again after the ease of lockdown and social distancing, Louise Bradley in Motcomb Street is the place to go. Conveniently, just two streets away is Nevilles in Pont Street where my hair colour was done for this particular hotel review shoot, though I do change up my look every so often, and vary my hairdresser accordingly. My eyewear is by Bvlgari and the stunning location is a suite at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London.
ABOVE: An after shot of the double reception room from one of my interior design projects in Cadogan Square, a grand duplex apartment with three large bedrooms and outside space on the border of Knightsbridge and Belgravia in London. This project was for a private client of mine, a boutique residential property developer, and was marketed by Savills. The property was let on a long lease within days of our completion of the total refurbishment and furnishing works.