I was flattered, and alarmed, to be asked to be one of the key note speakers (just that alone sounds alarming) for DCOTA's 2011 Winter Market. I was alarmed because the other panelists, CELERIE KEMBLE, TRINA TURK and GENE MEYER, truly are professionals, with proper points of view. I find my way more by gut instinct. But it was interesting how often during this discussion my father's name was referenced, and not by me. Interesting, but hardly surprising. He was the master of color and pattern after all.
I shared with the audience the story of how my father started the trend of Coca Cola colored walls. During a romantic quarrel, early on in their marriage, my mother, quite out of character, lost her temper and threw her glass of Coca Cola at the wall. "That's it!" my father exclaimed, excited by the result.
Celerie, Trina and Gene are all remarkable, and successful. How ever I was most impressed by Celerie. She slipped out of her YSL leopard heels and into her well worn TOM'S in a matter of moments, to dash off and breast feed her baby.
Its really still Christmas for us, due entirely to the Bahamian Postal Service, although service might not be quite the right word. Slowly Christmas cards and presents dribble in. Its nearly February. I should expect by Easter we could confidently expect to have received everything. This week Domino opened these sparking shoes, from her fairy God mother, Marie-Chantal of Greece. "Parteeee shoes" Domino exclaimed in delight. HTTP://WWW.MARIECHANTAL.COM
We also received a note, in impeccable French, sending peace and love for 2011 from the talented, happy and chic JONATHAN ADLER.
The advantage to Marie-Chantal's present was that the shoe box could also store three packets of crumpets in it. And David always loves a bit of crumpet.
I think it was only recently that I realized the glamorous, bouffanted lady on the Elnett can was in fact not my mother after all.
Every year for our Junkanoo festival each troupe selects a theme for its costumes and members are dressed in variations of that theme. Although this is a very good time of year for card board box's, it is a bad time of year for goats. Goat skin drums, warmed by a fire, join the costumed dancers, trumpeters, cowbellers, conch-shell blowers and whistlers (I think this a whole new word I have just made up) Everyone is on the street everyone is taken up, the magistrate dances with the miscreant, the millionaire with the minstrel.
Free dancers and cow bell shakers are an intrinsic part of Junkanoo. Our Bahamian national treasure, Kalik Beer, derives its name from the noise of the cow bell, K-k-kalik, k-k-kalik, k-k-kaliking. Of course after a few it begins to sound more like kkkkkkkkkkkkkkklick kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkklick kkkkkkkkkkkkkklick.
This year I was particularly admiring of the nipples on Triton, carried heroically by Captain Bob. And those on Robin Hood. And overcome with pride to see my own tribe 'rushing' with the group.
Junkanoo. This word must be said in a hushed holygrail kind of way. It defines the culture of The Bahamas and commands the attention and attendance of most Bahamians.
The origin of the word Junkanoo is obscure. Some say it comes from the French "L'inconnu" (meaning the unknown), in reference to the masks worn by the paraders; or "John Canoe," the name of an African tribal chief who demanded the right to celebrate with his people even after being brought to the West Indies in slavery.
It is believed that this festival began during the 16th and 17th centuries. The slaves were given a special holiday at Christmas time, when they could leave the plantations to be with their family and celebrate the holidays with African dance, music and costumes.
It is also a particularly proud time of year for card board box's. The old box (seen below) was transformed, by a dedicated Conrad, from ugly duckling to swan (seen above)
On Boxing Day and New Year's Day my boy's go out and 'rush' with the Zulu's. We are Zulu's because we happen to live close to Zulu headquarters, The Shack. The Shack is where bands of Zulu's expend astonishing amounts of artistic energy from about the middle of the year to the last moments on Christmas day. And where astonishing amounts of good old Kalik beer is drunk. Of course up on the hill the Mystics are also designing and constructing costumes and huge mobile sculptures, made from cardboard box's just like Conrad's, all covered in finely fringed brightly colored crepe paper, but we, as Zulu's, would not be welcome near Mystic territory.
Competition is fierce--thousands of dollars in prize money are at stake--and costume designs are a closely-guarded secret until they are finally unveiled.
Read the full interview with India Hicks as featured on WWW.HEIDIKLEIN.COM
TRAVEL Q & A - INDIA HICKS
If you could click your fingers and be anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In my home Hibiscus Hill, in The Bahamas. A seductive dream we brought to life.
How would you describe your ideal holiday?
The ideal holiday.... that would involve having my four children and David with me, plus my 3 dogs, because I can't bear to leave anyone behind. And with that mafia gang together it wouldn't be a holiday unless I could be hiking up a mountain with my dogs in a cool breeze, whilst the 3 boys were amused by Johnny Knoxville himself, as Dora the Explora took Domino down the river to find Diego and David was handed a Bloody Mary as he read Somerset Maugham in the shade of a Palladian villa.
What is your earliest holiday memory?
Lobster potting in Ireland, knowing I would be rewarded with a flake 99 if I helped haul them in, and secretly wondering if leprechaun's really did exist.
Who would be your dream holiday partner?
I spent 6 months travelling round Asia with my dearest cousin Timothy. He is the only person I have come across who got managed to get fat in India. It was far from a dream holiday, but his razor sharp mind and acute wit kept me sane during some of the more exhausting moments. I clearly remember a high ranking official, who was guiding us in Burma, asking Tim what a polite turn of phrase in English would be, when meeting a lady for the first time, Tim straight-faced replied "You have a nice pair there love"
If you had to choose one cover up would it be a kaftan, sarong or maxi dress?
Sarong, as the options are limitless.....round your neck as a scarf with a pair of jeans, spread out as a towel on the beach, wrapped around your midriff as you order an afternoon cocktail...
What style of swimwear suits you best?
What are your 3 essential items when packing for a beach holiday?
Moroccan oil to leave in my hair, and my PADI dive card.
What is on your wish list from the Heidi Klein collection this season?
Nassau Bandeau Bikini, a nice James Bond feel to it.
Any style tips for what to wear and what not to wear on the beach?
I am always shoeless & makeup less, lugging an overflowing gigantic beach bag . My 13 year old son enlightened me to the new trend of wearing your swimming trunks over your boxer's, a rather futile gesture I thought.
How do you prepare to bare on the beach?
I religiously use India Hicks Island Living Body Polish. For dramatically smoother and more radiant skin, this gently cleanses and exfoliates with grapefruit peel and avocado leaving you ready for the beach.
What are your favourite 3 restaurants you have eaten at whilst on holiday?
The hip happening roof top restaurant of the Fasano Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, Harry's Bar in Venice, for the belini of course and breakfast in bed at Hippo Point in Kenya with a giraffe staring at me through the window.
Which is your favourite spa and what treatment do you have?
4 season's in Hong Kong, the first hotel I have stayed in boasting 6 stars. And a world-class sports massage in the spa.
Lastly, what’s your holiday must read book?
Catching up on 'The Week'
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH INDIA HICKS FEATURED ON HEIDI KLEIN.