The first time I discovered India Hicks, I was thumbing through the pages of Domino magazine. My eye fell upon a bookshelf of kraft paper-covered hardbacks with white labels revealing the titles. I found it utterly irresistible, even more so after hearing it was her homage to her legendary interior-designer father David Hicks’ iconic red leather-bound volumes. India’s talents range from designing interiors for hotels (that she also owns); creating beauty collections for Crabtree & Evelyn; authoring several books about island style; (formerly) hosting Bravo television show Top Design; and being a mother of four. My favorite fun fact, considering the most recent royal engagement: she was a bridesmaid in Lady Diana & Prince Charles’ wedding, as her mother was for the Queen and Prince Philip! I hope you enjoy reading more about this supremely intriguing and talented designer! -Ginny
1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox? What are the tools you can’t live without?
India Hicks: Liquid paper. I am addicted. The “delete” button on the computer keyboard is not nearly as satisfying as liquid paper. School glue. I use a lot of this. I am a scrap booker — scrap books of press cuttings, scribbles, photos, Christmas cards, sketches, invitations, my children’s art. I have tried all sorts of glues: fancy French ones, simple sticks, dedicated photo sprays, glue guns, but nothing is as effective as school glue.
2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank: “When I am in my studio, I feel the need to organize the chaos.”
3. Design*Sponge: What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now? This can be anything from blogs, books, magazines, vintage catalogues/manuals, etc.
India Hicks: The World of Interiors monthly magazines. I never fail to find something that inspires me in each edition. My brother Ashley’s latest book on our father David Hicks. Not only has this been beautifully written and brilliantly art directed, but it references the best of our father’s work. The Best Of Flair by Fleur Cowles. Flair was one of the most talked-about and influential magazines ever created. It is remembered for its extraordinary design and production quality, its superb coverage of the arts and its intuitive discovery of artists and writers before they achieved fame and fortune.
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5. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young, aspiring interior designer?
India Hicks: My father’s memorable saying, “Good taste and design are by no means dependent upon money.” For a young designer I would say, explore. Travel fuels ideas. Witness the trappings of another life; look for the tradition and beauty within it. Document each trip and all of the details, whether an upholstery fabric or a roof-tile pattern, a wooden fretwork balustrade or an old painted sign. These will one day inspire your work. My father’s famous tablescapes got much of their energy and interest from mixing poor and rich objects, and many of the poor had been collected by him on his travels. As a designer, you should always be looking, looking, looking.
6. Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks? What tools do you use to keep your creativity flowing?
India Hicks: Nature. It’s all around me and never ceases to amaze. The lines on the trunk of a casuarina tree, the stripes on the back of a Sergeant Major fish, the spots on a stingray, the stars in the sky. Endless possibilities to help jolt one back on track.
7. Design*Sponge: In addition to having created a beauty line, modeled for high-fashion designers, hosted television shows, designed interiors and penned several books (Island Life: Inspirational Interiors, Island Beauty), what would you like to conquer next?
India Hicks: I also creatively direct a shop here on the island called The Sugar Mill. I am helping my mother with her memories, trying to keep the peace between four children, and now write a blog (www.indiahicks.com). Not much time for conquering anything else right now.
9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsman, whose would it be?
India Hicks: Salvador Dali. I wonder if there was a lot of weed inside his toolbox? My mother has a painting by him of my grandmother. It’s very beautiful and very weird.
10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?
1. “Amazing Grace” — Because even if you do not believe in a God, the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible is as relevant today as it was in when these verses were written in 1773: “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.”
2. “Dream Girl” by Dave Mathews. It’s slow and sexy. Dave is a mate; he invited me to watch him perform in the O2. I gave him a hug backstage, assumed he was off to change into his rock-star outfit, but no, he performed the entire show dressed in his tatty old cardigan and f****d-up boots.
3. Usher: OMG, “Honey got a booty like pow pow pow, honey got some boobies like wow oh wow” helped me run a marathon.
4. Gabriella Cilmi: On a Mission, about a woman, who is stronger than ever, and won’t give up without a fight . . .
And these songs, as my 13-year-old and I can actually agree upon them:
The XX: “Heart Skipped a Beat”
Train: “Hey Soul Sister”
Jason Derulo: “In My Head”