"I reaaaaaly need a pink cowboy hat", said Domino. Need, not want, seemed to be the point.
When I was next in New York, I went to the dreaded Toys R Us. A life-sized Sponge Bob came over to help me. "Pink cowboys hats?" I asked hopefully. Apparently not. Next door at Disney, Minnie Mouse directed me to the dress-up section. No pink cowboy hats but there was a red sparkly one, with matching cowgirl boots. Plastic, red, sparkling, cowgirl boots. With Super Woman gold trim. How could I resist? David always says I am to blame for the appalling dress sense our children have.
Domino is delighted. The boots have hardly come off. Her feet happily sweating in vinyl. However, it does not stop there. Domino has become so taken with the boots and hat that she is changing her name to Jessie (Buzz Lightyear's girlfriend of course) She has carefully written notes that explain the name change and delivered them around town.
And becomes really quite angry if anyone tries to call her anything else.
Off to New York. It's chilly. But not that chilly, so we gave this gilet a little hair cut. It looks much better.
The only problem is the 5 year old thought this was a great idea.
India Hicks: from Britain to Bahamas.
The mom-of-five's effortlessly elegant island life
From where do you draw your design inspiration?
Everywhere, but most especially here on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, my home for 17 years. From coral formations and pink sand to the extraordinary fish in the ocean, everything here seems to inspire me. Whoever created life must have had a highly talented designer on hand to create nature.
With five children, a hotel and a beauty line among your many projects, the work-life balance must be on your mind a lot. Can you speak about the challenges and pleasures of juggling a large family with a busy career?
I would imagine that most working mums often feel much the same way I do: guilty. While away on a business trip I feel guilty about being absent, but when I’m home I feel guilty about not being in the office. I’ve learned that what is important is learning to live with these facts and managing them. There is an impossible amount of juggling between two lives—work and home—but my grandfather was Chief of Combined Operations during the war, and I have inherited his ferocious organizational skills. I am vigilant about carving out an hour each day for myself to exercise. An important hour for me, it keeps me focused and strong, physically and mentally. I have, however, sacrificed most of my social life. Unless it’s family or something truly worthwhile, I would prefer to spend the time tucking my kids into bed.
Your father, David Hicks, was an interior design icon in his lifetime. How did his legacy inform you in your work and life?
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, which feels more my own.
In what ways does your family's lifestyle today differ from your own upbringing as part of the royal family in England?
My children's early upbringing could not be more different than my own. I was chauffeur-driven to school in a custom colored, chocolate brown, Rolls Royce. My children go on a golf buggy with sandy dogs and me—panicking that the homework never got done. The only palace my daughter has been near so far is Barbie's.
What do you love about living in the Bahamas? What makes it a great place to raise kids?
My children are free to roam where they please. As a result, their imaginations are heightened, and they don't distinguish between black or white skin colors. Island Life opened my eyes to a new kind of natural beauty inspired by a nation of people at ease with themselves. And, of course, there are no parking tickets.
What are your most cherished possessions in your home and closet?
My scrapbooks come first. Years and years of photos, invitations, children's drawings, love letters, and memories are stored there. My father always said if our home was to burn we must grab the family bible. I always say, “bugger that. Grab my scrapbooks.” Other than those, I have few cherished possessions in my closet. If the house were burning, I'd walk calmly awy—as long as my considerable list of animals and children were safe.
Can you share tips for designing kid-friendly spaces in the home?
Recently I found our greatest challenge was how to have a space that teenagers and a 4 year-old could share. The compromise was to renovate our old island “school room” into something like a miniature South Beach Hotel lobby. David, my traditionalist other half was appalled, but the teenagers felt acknowledged, while the 4 year old was allowed to decorate one of the newly gloss white walls with her paintings and smudgy finger prints.
As Sindy had not really been out and about much, during the thirty odd years she had been staying with my mother, we decided to show her a good time on Harbour Island. Our pink sand beach, Queen Conch, and Daddy D's.
Disappointingly we found that Sindy was a really shit boat driver.
And even though Sindy's 1960's wardrobe has a certain charm I am trying to persuade her to update it just a touch. The tribal swim suit on my site for instance: http://buy.indiahicks.com/1s1corodm.html
'S' for sexy Saffron.
We met on a modeling shoot a long time ago. Before kids, before coke zero, before Labradoodles were cool. It was in some horrible studio in south London. Saffron was THE RALPH LAUREN GIRL. I was no one. The studio smelt of damp. And there was a really nasty scuzzy rug, that looked like it had been thrown out of an abandoned Hilton hotel. The creative director thought we should roll around on it, rubbing our cheeks gently and seductively against the rug. That's how we met. To see the rest of my alphabet click here.
When the 14 year old found out I was on a business trip in NewYork he asked if I could get him a sweat shirt from Supreme. "No problem" I said "but what's Supreme?" He groaned and rolled his eyes. I googled Supreme. A shop on Layfette and Prince street. Couldn't be easier, I had a car and driver, as it was a business trip. In between meetings the car sped me to Supreme. At first I could not see it, because there was a line of people held in place by a gigantic gold chained black bouncer clearly bouncing some crazy nightclub that seemed to be open in the middle of the afternoon. It was only after a minute or two that I realized the line was actually queuing to get into Supreme. A line for a shop, I had never heard of. A long line with Mr. T, from the A team, in charge. My gleaming black sedan slid to a halt, the driver opened my door. The line stared. Mr. T stared. "I only want to buy a sweatshirt " I explained in a nervous voice "Come back in 15" said Mr. T, pitying the fool.
I didn't really have 15 to spare. But 15 minutes later I returned. The line was longer, the tattoo's bigger. Mr T slipped me through.
Inside Supreme there was another line. Yes another line. I texted the 14 year old. Which sweatshirt did he want? "A cool one" he texted back. A cool one? I photographed one and sent him the picture. "That's not cool" the text came back. I tried again. I could sense him eye rolling from 6000 miles. away. Finally we settled on a sweatshirt. I stood in line, worrying about just how late I was now going to be for my meeting.
When I reached the cash register an uninterested yoouuuph rang me up and told me the price. "There's been a mistake" I said "I'm only getting a sweat shirt" He said that was the price, didn't I understand this was Supreme. This sweat shirt was a collector's item. It was the Ferrari of sweat shirts.
Mother's of teenagers understand why animals eat their young.
Could we really not have settled for a set of nice nautical notelets instead? http://buy.indiahicks.com/sntbyo.html
Its turning into one of those months. I feel like a Fed Ex package. I flew back from New York to London for A NIGHT, in order to give Christian Louboutin his Conde Nast Traveller award. The scoundrel deserves it of course, his new men's shop in Paris is a triumph. Yes men's. Not only has he conquered the world with women's shoes and handbags but now its men too.
And although it looks like I am concentrating wholeheartedly on what he is saying in my Emilia Wickstead
suit and India Hicks diamond earrings
. I am really thinking about how to make it to The Bahamas to see my dogs before returning back to England to be a part of the CNN Diamond Jubilee team and onto Boston to give a talk at the Design Center and wondering if I have actually left a child in the wrong country somewhere along the way.
David had a mild mid life crisis and went out and bought a classic car...and then another and another.
I chopped off my hair. Twice in two days.
Its funny because I never think of my father as a hipster, although of course the famous image of him shirtless, wearing a leather jacket and beads, with a gigantic straw hat, proprietorially standing in front of his Bahamian mausoleum, is certainly closer to hip than the image of him in red velvet and fur robes, as Master of the most worshipful Salters Company (of which my sister became a member, just so she got the box of chocolates they sent to women members at Christmas each year)
But look at this day bed, its total hipster. Designed as part of my father's original decoration for the Prince of Bavaria. And now modeling in this month's British Vogue magazine.
Surprising facts from this week's modeling shoot:
We really did have to model ALL of those white jeans.
Chandra really did believe that Lipton tea bags would help.
Alex Rodriguez's home really does have practice nets INSIDE (not so surprising, A-Rod is hot. Very.)
And we really were comfortably discussing utter nonsense as our photographs were being taken.