The Style Files: India Hicks

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India Hicks has long been regarded as an arbiter of style– first, because of her extraordinary background and soon after as a tastemaker with impeccable style of her own. India is the daughter of the legendary English decorator, David Hicks (my design hero) whose bold taste and geometric patterns have endured for decades and Pamela Hicks, the daughter to the Earl and Countess of Mountbatten. The Earl was the Viceroy of India, hence India’s name. You may also remember India as one of the flower girls in her godfather, the Prince of Wales’ wedding to Lady Diana Spencer. After a career in modeling, the British beauty met her partner, David Flint Wood and succumb to island life, remodeling an old house that would become their beloved Hibiscus Hill in the Bahamas where they reside with their children, Felix, Amory, Conrad, Domino, and Wesley.

India is a published author, frequently contributing to several important magazines and has published two books, Island Life and Island Beauty. Her third book, Island Style is scheduled to be released in March of 2015. In addition, India also designs an uber-chic line of jewelry including her Love Letter necklaces along with a collection of island-inspired bedding and decor for HSN called India Hicks Island Living. I recently had a conversation with the lovely India about the role her incredible heritage plays in her style and day to day life as well as what she finds most inspiring. Enjoy!

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Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

India Hicks: Modern Classic

india hicks la fiorentina

{The Definition of Classic: An Antique French Armchair Upholstered in Timeless La Fiorentina Fabric by India’s Legendary Father, David Hicks}

PC: You come from a rather creative family including your father, the legendary interior decorator, David Hicks. How has this heritage of style influenced the way you approach design and your own personal aesthetic?

IH: As one of the most important and influential tastemakers of the late twentieth century, my father turned decorating on its head. His work always made bold statements– there was no prettiness and no chintz. It was pure theater and the world took notice. Growing up surrounded by his electrifying color combinations, eclecticism, and geometric designs certainly left me spinning. In my first apartment in New York the sitting room was painted fire engine red and the bathroom banana yellow. It never occurred to me that you could live in a world of beige and grey. I have now developed a softer style, something with a lot less drama that is possibly less striking but feels more my own.

david hicks dining room

{A Dramatic Dining Room by David Hicks}

PC: What does your home in the Bahamas say about you?

IH: I love mostly that the house we bought on the island has now become more than that, it’s become a home which has evolved over time, layer upon layer, into a truthful representation of who we are. It is not a status symbol and certainly lacks pretension. Hibiscus Hill was built in the1950s, but we endeavored to make the villa look like it was built in the 1850s.The house sits on three acres of rolling garden that stretch inland from the top of the dunes, with jungle on two sides and a valley of coconut palms on the other. The site looks out over the distant rooftops of town to the harbor and the setting sun. When we originally saw the house, peeking in the windows together, it was love at first sight. David remembers that I said simply, “It feels like home.” That was in 1996. Of course the downside to creating a home on a small tropical island is that everything has to come by boat, and when the boat doesn’t come there can be no supplies! We also have to share a doctor with 3 other islands, there is no vet and no one knows how to drive the ambulance. Don’t think for a minute there is a cinema or dry-cleaning, there are no daily newspapers and there is only one choice of toothpaste. And of course we face three months of hurricanes.

india hicks fireplace

{India’s Bit of Heaven in the Bahamas}

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

IH: From so many places, my mother’s extraordinary British heritage or my father’s great archive of daring designs, but mainly from the small island I live on where you never know what unexpected discovery can lead to a new collection….From coral formations and pink sand to the extraordinary fish in the Ocean. Whoever created ‘life’ must have had a highly talented designer beside them when they created nature.

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{India’s Home in the Bahamas as Captured by Miguel Flores-Vianna for Veranda}

PC: Who is your personal style icon?

IH: My grandmother, Edwina Mountbatten

edwina mountbatten

{Lady Edwina Mountbatten as Photographed by Cecil Beaton}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

IH: A warm bath, without a child in sight, and my iPhone in hand. The cats and dogs are allowed. They sit on the bath mat enjoying the short moment of peace with me. I always feel especially guilty as I know David, my other half, is downstairs watching the news and catching up on global affairs as I scroll through the ridiculous world of Instagram.

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{A Sampling of Recent Photos from India’s Instagram}

PC: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

IH: There is more in you than you think. The Gordonstoun school moto. Gordonstoun is the school my godfather, the Prince of Wales attended before me. Its set on a cliff in the north of freezing Scotland. I loved every minute of my time there. I think it stood me in good stead for living on a remote island in the middle of nowhere for 18 years.

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{India’s Alma Mater: the Gordonstoun School in Scotland}

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Go-To Outfit: jeans, converse and a well-fitting jacket

Style Mantra: barefoot as much as possible. But only with a well pedicured foot.

Scent: as natural as possible

Piece of Jewelry: My mother’s charm bracelet, I hardly ever wear it but I treasure the history and the memories it carries.

Color I Never Tire Of: hunter green

Flower: fresh picked traditional roses from my parents secret garden in England

Indispensable Design Element: Pantone Plus series guide

Era for Design: I’m not that picky.

Dream Project: to edit a magazine, all that lovely creative control. And hopefully a chauffeured car and a fat expense account.

Fabric/Textile: raffia

Hostess Gift: a baby pineapple that can sit as a decorative object and then be eaten when fully mature

Meal: marmite on toast

Drink: mimosa

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: run on a deserted pink sand beach at dusk

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Weekend Destination: Miami. Casa Tua and Aventura mall.

Hotel: Casa Tua in Miami

City: London

Museum: Isabella Stewart Gardener Boston

Artist: Elizabeth Peyton

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Harry Bellafonte. Jamaica farewell. I will never forget my shy son and David singing this quietly together during a terrifying game of karaoke

Actor/Actress: Melissa McCarthy, John Hamm

Prized Possession: My scrap books. They hold all the photographs invitations love letters and children’s drawings I have amassed over the years

Risk Worth Taking: parenthood

Greatest Extravagance: private safari in Kenya

Go-To Color Palette: grey and cream

Rule to Break: lying about my children’s ages to get them onto a roller coaster ride

Movie Set Design: the early James Bond movies– chic then and now

3 Dream Dinner Party Guests: Ones who would cause quite a stir together. ….just for some sparkling conversation.

Paloma Signature

9 thoughts on “The Style Files: India Hicks

  1. Dear Paloma
    I write to you from England..a frequent reader but usually shy commenter.
    I am very fond indeed of India Hicks, and admire her greatly, also her father whose work was very prominent when I was studying design
    I think I must have fallen in love at first sight when I saw India’s breathtaking home …..Island life is a calling !
    Thank you for your wonderful blog, and by the way I think you are very talented
    Sally

  2. I really liked the uber-chic line of jewelry designed by India Hicks including her Love Letter necklaces.They are beautiful and elegant at the same time.To purchase jewelry in the nation of India, contact Sirjana Signature jewelry in Delhi.

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