Interview with Honorary Show Chair India Hicks

The 2019 San Francisco Fall Show is thrilled to have the uber-stylish and wonderfully witty, international “design royalty” India Hicks as Honorary Chair. India was born in London, England – her father was famed interior decorator David Hicks, and her mother is Pamela Hicks, daughter to the Earl and Countess Mountbatten of Burma. Her grandfather was the last Viceroy of India, hence her name. The notion of Wanderlust is certainly not new to India: following school she backpacked around the world for a year. Back in London, she took a foundation course in art, before moving to Boston to take a degree in photography, graduating with honors. A fashion magazine feature lead to a successful career on the other side of the camera, as a model. India now lives on a small island in the Bahamas, with David Flint Wood and her five children where they have built and restored four houses and a hotel. This chapter in her life led to the publication of three books: Island Life, Island Beauty, and, most recently, Island Style. Part of the proceeds from these books have been donated to a small non-profit community school in the Bahamas. After a successful career designing collections of bath & beauty products, bedding and jewelry in partnership with others, a new book was born India Hicks – A Slice of England. India will tell you all about it during her lecture and Q&A on October 3 at 2:30 pm.

As her family was hunkering down to weather a hurricane in the Bahamas, India was kind enough to answer a few questions over the phone:

What most excites you about coming to the San Francisco Fall Show?

I have had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time in San Francisco over the years, and I find it a very exciting place to visit: the food, the people, the design scene, the city itself… what’s not to love?

When it comes to art and antiques, are there any specific historic periods or decorative styles that you are drawn to?

I am lucky to have grown up in some very remarkable homes, which in both architectural and design terms were considered very classical. So, at the heart of my design aesthetic there is a bit of modern but a lot of tradition. When my partner David and I moved to the Bahamas, some 25 years ago, we naturally gravitated to a style to was more in keeping with our new environment: Caribbean, West Indian… think dark stained floors, tropical foliage, and lots of white mosquito netting.

Over the years, I’d like to think that we would be better minimalists, but that may be a pipe dream, as we keep on layering more stuff into our homes rather than taking things away.

What was your most favorite/memorable art/antique find?

I am so lucky to have inherited a few remarkable antiques from my parents. In fact, in England, we built an entire house around a pair of sensational gilt mirrors and eagle console tables that used to belong to my grandmother. And I mean that literally: we extended the roof of the house in order to fit them in! My partner David is an avid antique hunter, always bringing home new finds and it has made me realize how much I prefer the look and feel of a beautifully constructed piece with some age to it, over a brand-new “off the rack” retail item.

From the book India Hicks – A Slice of England (Rizzoli), photograph by Miguel Flores-Vianna

This year’s show theme is Wanderlust – Around the world with Art, Antiques, and Design? What does Wanderlust mean to you?

To me, Wanderlust is the passion for travel and exploration, and I have certainly led that life. I left England at 18 and backpacked around the world and that turned out to be a really inspiring education. Travel and adventure are key to my life and how I bring up my children. Of course, the same applied to my parents, so you can definitely say that Wanderlust is in my blood, in my DNA.

Thank you India – and we look forward to seeing you at the show!

Photograph by Sarah Wood