Decorating & Design

October 3, 2011

Interview: India Hicks

If the term “design royalty” has ever applied to anyone, it is surely India Hicks. In addition to being the granddaughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten (Britain’s last Viceroy in India) and godchild of Prince Charles, the onetime model and longtime Ralph Lauren muse is also the offspring of famed interior decorator David Hicks. Now a successful businesswoman and mother of three young boys, London-born Hicks proved nearly a decade ago that design talent ran in the family when she and her partner, David Flint Wood, bought and renovated a five bedroom beach house on Harbour Island, the laid-back Bahamian haven where they also run The Landing, a boutique hotel and restaurant.

The same relaxed approach that Hicks espoused in 2004’s Island Life (Stewart, Tabori and Chang) is on also display in her second book, Island Beauty (Stewart, Tabori and Chang), her guide to looking and feeling good. A well-balanced, chemical-free existence is also the philosophy behind her new collaboration with venerable British retailer Crabtree & Evelyn: a 19-product, botanically based skincare line appropriately named Naturals.

House & Home: What do you like most about your home?

India Hicks: Its sunny aspect and the fact that the edges have been knocked off by wet, sandy dogs and children running madly about.

H&H: How would you describe your personal style?

IH: The act of definition disqualifies it. The implication of style is that it’s innate and not contrived.

H&H: What’s your favourite colour scheme?

IH: Warm neutrals such as sandy beige, eggshell white and dove grey. A well-tried method for finding interior colour ideas is to focus on one object, picture or fabric as a starting point and develop a scheme around it. With strong hues you can only use one third of the colour spectrum and at most two thirds with subtler hues.

H&H: Do you collect anything?

IH: I actually try to throw away more than collect.

H&H: What’s your idea of the perfect getaway?

IH: A weekend with friends filled with witty conversation, gentle gossip and good country cooking at my mother’s country house in Oxfordshire, England. On Sunday morning, a long horseback ride or a jog, followed by all the weekend newspapers we so dearly miss in our island existence.

H&H: What country or culture inspires you right now?

IH: Cuba. It’s still so raw and untouched. I love enjoying a drink at the Floridita and dining in one of the paladares. And I never miss the Tropicana nightclub, where I once saw a three-legged dog in the cabaret!

H&H: What’s your idea of a perfect night out?

IH: Seeing a good movie on a vast screen followed by a Chinese meal — two things I can’t get on Harbour Island.

H&H: Whose personal style do you most admire?

IH: [The late] C.Z. Guest, the Rajmata of Jaipur and Sienna Miller.

H&H: Do you have a secret indulgence?

IH: Typex — or, as you call it in Canada, Liquid Paper.

H&H: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?

IH: A trip on the Concorde with an admirer.

H&H: Name three people (living or deceased) that you’d love to have at a dinner party.

IH: Kirstie Alley, Jawarhalal Nehru and writer Karen Blixen (aka Isak Dinesen).

H&H: What’s your definition of beauty?

IH: Inner peace.

H&H: What one item couldn’t you live without at home?

IH: A king-size featherbed with my partner in it.

H&H: Finish this sentence: I feel most comfortable when…

IH: … my underwear fits.

H&H: What gets you out of bed in the morning?

IH: Life.