The English capital played host to many of Helena Rubinstein's "firsts". It was in London that she opened her first European salon in 1908, where she would get married and where her two sons would be born. She became very attached to this dynamic city. In 1961, she unveiled her duplex apartment at 247 Knightsbridge, with interior design by David Nightingale Hicks.
Madame had just celebrated her 90th birthday, David Nightingale Hicks his 30th. However, both were on the same wavelength when they met for the first time. During the meeting, the interior designer asked Helena Rubinstein what color she would like for the walls of her dining room. Instead of replying, she asked her assistant for a pair of scissors, cut away a piece of the hem from her silk purple Balenciaga dress and gave it to Hicks so that he wouldn't forget. The designer was able to reproduce exactly the same shade, and Madame was satisfied.
David Nightingale Hicks was not surprised by Helena Rubinstein's extravagant requests. She wanted to mix the old with the new and use bright colors everywhere – everything the young Englishman loved. Madame's demands were easily, and happily, followed. Once decoration was complete, the dining room could seat 45 people around the table, located in the center of an eclectic room. Victorian chairs sat next to contemporary art on the walls, which in turn looked over African sculptures. The view onto Hyde Park made the space even more unique, enthralling guests.
The collaboration between Helena Rubinstein and David Nightingale Hicks won the designer considerable acclaim. Having decorated Madame's apartment, he was overwhelmed with the number of requests from the rich and famous. Among them, the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Condé Nast, figures known worldwide.