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AGELESS STYLE AND THE WORLD OF INDIA HICKS

Photograph by Brittan Goetz
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Each month my friend Cindy and I interview a different interesting and amazing woman. This month I’d like to welcome you to Ageless Style and the World of India Hicks.

When I think of India Hicks the words history, tradition, family, and design are just a few that come to mind followed by style, author, service to others, and entrepreneur. The life India Hicks and her family have built on Harbour Island in the Bahamas is centered around Hibiscus Hill, their elegant yet laid-back home. The house is a mix of timeless British colonial, and the rich island culture of bright gelato colors, tropical flora and fauna, and pink sandy beaches. Add five children, several beloved dogs and cats, some lovebirds, a tortoise, and a passion for entertaining, and you’ve just begun to imagine the world of India Hicks.

If you think it sounds like paradise, you might be right.

India Hicks’s gracious home is filled with family oil portraits, books stacked on tables and floors, shelves of straw boater hats, and collections of disparate objects like shells, a wooden toy car, and her grandmother’s pigskin writing case. The tables and fireplace mantles are adorned with India’s traditional palm-frond displays in tall glass containers and little bud vases filled with greenery and blooms.

There are baskets full of smooth, brown lucky nuts, as well as tiny silver boxes, and a white porcelain bowl of red, English cricket balls. No one curates charm and tradition better than India Hicks, and if you haven’t devoured one of her five beautiful design books filled with photographs and stories, you must give yourself the gift of at least one or two.

India comes from a fascinating dynasty. She is the third child of the iconic David Hicks, Britain’s foremost interior designer of the ’60s and ’70s, and Lady Pamela Mountbatten Hicks, a bridesmaid at Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding and later, the queen’s Lady-in-Waiting.

India’s mother, Lady Pamela Mountbatten Hicks, far right, bridesmaid at Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding.

India’s grandfather was the great-grandson of Queen Victoria. He was the first Earl Mountbatten of Burma and was appointed the Supreme Commander in Southeast Asia during World War II. As the last Viceroy of India, he oversaw India’s transition to self-rule. Her grandmother’s godfather was King Edward VII, and India’s godfather is King Charles III, the current reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, who ascended the throne upon the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II on September 8, 2022.

India, on the right, has modeled for Ralph Lauren, Tod’s, and J. Crew among others.

India Hicks doesn’t give many interviews. I’m honored she sat down to talk with me.

BRENDA: You have such a fabulous style. I read that you were a self-described “tomboy,” but somewhere along the line that changed. 

INDIA: Obviously, you do mature into a different phase. I still wouldn’t describe myself as girly or frilly. My style is pretty straightforward in the way that I dress and the way I live.

BRENDA: As a 12-year-old girl, you were a bridesmaid in the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. You probably weren’t thrilled at being asked to wear such a frilly dress.

India, back row, third from the left.

INDIA: In hindsight, the 1980s was a moment in fashion that was all about opulence and over-the-top statements, and I think Diana, if she were alive today and was going to think about her wedding dress, might have chosen differently, but it was very befitting of that time and that era. Vast amounts of silk taffeta were the trend, but yes, for me, it was a little out of the ordinary, but it was an extraordinary privilege to have been a part of that wedding.

BRENDA: What became of your dress?

INDIA: It’s traveled a lot in exhibitions and has been on display at the Broadlands Museum. Now it hangs in my daughter’s bedroom in England in a Perspex box, and what’s interesting is that next to it hangs my mother’s bridesmaid dress she wore to the Queen’s wedding.

BRENDA: What a magnificent history. Your style is tailored. Very classic and chic. What are some ways a woman can up her fashion game and look pulled together without spending a lot of money?

INDIA: I think having a neutral palette as the foundation helps hugely, and you can build from there. I travel a great deal and so I pack very carefully because I don’t want to be traveling with vast trunks of clothes so I narrow it down. In the narrowing down, in that final edit, I find that I do tend to go to a more neutral palette and that helps. I think for me, particularly, it suits the way that I live and work. And I add in a shock of color…I think it depends on the age, but at my age, I’m finding being slightly pared back gives more of an elegance to a woman’s wardrobe.

BRENDA: I agree. I’m a minimalist and have always worn neutral colors. I buy great pieces so I have a lot of things I bought years ago I can wear with pieces I buy now because they are all neutral colors.

INDIA: Absolutely. I think we should be telling ourselves about thinking in a more sustainable way and thinking about slow fashion instead of fast fashion. Often if I’m investing in a piece that will perhaps stretch my budget, I will think “Will my daughter inherit this and will she also benefit from this?” But I do think sustainably as much as I possibly can. I have a shop here on Harbour Island called the Sugar Mill, and we try to be very conscientious for the shop.

India Hicks wearing a dress from the Melides collection from Hester Bly sold at India’s store, the Sugar Mill on Harbour Island.

BRENDA: Over the weekend, I splurged on a Max Mara sequined sweater, so I’m having a battle in my head about whether I’ll wear this piece enough to get a good cost per wear. I don’t know. We’ll see what I do about it. (Since this interview, I returned the sweater.)

INDIA: I have to say I love sequins, and there’s a time and a place for them, but they do bring quite a lot of joy and fun for sure.

India’s boots for Penelope Chilvers.

BRENDA: You’ve gone from doing your own lifestyle brand, the India Hicks Collection, to collaborating with other designers like Heirlooms Linens and those fabulous boots you’ve done with Penelope Chilvers. I left you a comment on Instagram about the Grove boots. I said, “As a Texas girl, I’d be proud to wear those boots!”

INDIA: I did see your comment, and I loved it. I’m very grateful for that because I thought it was a real compliment.

BRENDA: The boots are beautiful. They’re olive suede, and is there a leopard print lining?

INDIA: That’s right. I always like to have something that’s a bit of a surprise that I design so it’s not the obvious.

India and her 94-year-old mother, Lady Pamela Mountbatten Hicks.

BRENDA: And Heirlooms Linens, tell me about those. They’re gorgeous.

INDIA: I just launched those with a British company, and they’re very remarkable in the fact that they hold not one but two royal warrants (a mark of recognition to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services to the Royal Household.) which is quite impressive. It’s been a wonderful journey with them. They manufacture everything in-house, in their UK, West Sussex space, and they use the finest Italian woven fabrics and embroidery machines. When I went to visit them, I was very impressed by the embroidery.

They’d done a beautiful shell cushion. It’s white on white, very subtle, and I think it would work in a New York apartment as well as it would in the Bahamas. And if you turn the cushion over, you’ll find there’s a little tiny ant embroidered on the back. Kind of a fun little nod to something a bit unexpected.

BRENDA: I saw that. I love it! Tell me about your smart-looking picture frames.

INDIA: Again, another British company, Addison Ross, and what I really like about their point of difference is they do this picture frame “Print and Fit” process. We all have these crazy busy lives, and if we’re celebrating someone’s wedding, or we want a special gift, or it’s coming up for Christmas, the idea of a photograph frame is perfect. Everyone wants a memory, but actually identifying the image and then getting it printed and put in a frame… Nobody can be bothered to do that. So often we’re just gifting an empty frame. What Print and Fit offers is brilliant…You choose the frame and just send them the image, and they will do everything else for you, including the packaging and the sending of the frame.

BRENDA: How can you resist that? One-stop shopping, and they’re beautiful. The tweeds and the velvets on the frames make me think about the leopard print lining in your boots. It’s unexpected.

INDIA: Exactly.                                                                                            

BRENDA: You’re also involved with two important humanitarian efforts: the Prince’s Trust and the Global Empowerment Mission (GEM). Up close and personal, you’ve seen the horrifying devastation the Russians have inflicted during their war against Ukraine. Things you’ll never forget. I admire you for the work you’re doing with them.

India, this week in Ukraine, with Felix, a war orphan who now lives in a foster home. “He is a small bubble of joy for a moment.”

INDIA: Thank you. That’s kind. I was very driven by the fact that I was serving on their board, and I was frustrated I couldn’t do more than just be a board member. When I was sure the team was going to go into Ukraine, I had a long conversation with the founder, Michael Capponi, who has an extraordinary character and a very dynamic personality. He encouraged me to go out with them and join the team out there and what I found was that in Ukraine, on the ground, I was able to match donors to causes. 

Photographs from India’s current trip to Ukraine. She spent days giving boxes of food and supplies off the back of trucks, along with colorful beanies and soccer balls.

I could do a live video chat with a donor in America, saying, “Meet Anna whose house has been bombed by a missile, and she now has nowhere to go.” And then the donor could send the funds and support Anna in the rebuilding of her home. I’m going again next week to Ukraine…The world has so many natural disasters and wars. I worry that Ukraine has been somewhat forgotten. Also, there’s a lot of war fatigue. People feel they have been burnt out by being asked for money or lending their support, but of course for those in Ukraine, still fighting, they need eyes on their war. They need people to remember that this continues. And for me, it particularly feels personal in the fact that this is in Europe essentially. This is on our doorstep.

BRENDA: I know.

India’s son, Conrad Flint Wood, with an elderly woman in Ukraine who is now forced to live underground.

INDIA: If we let Putin win this, then we are in a different territory altogether. So I think we need to come together as much as we can and continue those efforts to help them and help keep the focus there. It’s important to mention Global Empowerment Mission is a relief agency, and they help all those in need in times of crisis. They are active in 54 countries, and they are active in both Gaza and Israel…But it is important to remember that as a humanitarian organization, our first call is humanitarian aid, and in no way is there ever any political stand in what Global Empowerment Mission does.

BRENDA: Stay safe next week, India, and thank you for your time.

INDIA: Thank you so much for thinking of me. Take care. 

Thanks for reading Ageless Style and the World of India Hicks. Please leave me and India a comment, and then visit Cindy’s site to see who she’s interviewing this month.             

Love, Brenda

39 Comments

  • Cheryl Scott January 25, 2024 at 6:32 am

    Great interview with an incredible woman. I’ve been supporting the Global Empowerment Mission for some time now and have been following India’s recent travels to the Ukraine. She’s someone born into a world of privilege and wealth and has remained grounded and committed. Also, my husband and I fell in love with Harbour Island in the late 80’s and stayed at the tiny Runaway Hill Inn several times for long weekend getaways when our children were young. Spectacular gem of an island.
    Thanks for such an inspiring interview from someone I admire.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 25, 2024 at 4:06 pm

      Cheryl, India will be pleased to know you support Global Empowerment Mission. Now that they’re on my radar, and I have a feel for what they do and know that India is an involved board member, I may become a supporter as well. I used to spend a lot of time diving in the Caribbean, but I never made it to Harbour Island. Eleuthera and Spanish Wells, yes. Thank you for your comment, Brenda

  • Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns January 25, 2024 at 7:23 am

    I love India Hicks, and have been a fan of hers for a very long time. She seems so down to earth, which is amazing considering her lineage. Her interviews and former podcast with her mother are some of my favorites.
    India has a beautiful style, both at home and in her wardrobe. Classic, elegant and what many would now term the look of quiet luxury.
    GEM is a great charity and it is refreshing to see not only a supporter and spokesperson that believes her mission is to be on the ground as well as in the board room. I think she offers a unique perspective from the trenches that allows people outside the Ukraine to see that the war is still going strong and still a threat not only to Ukrainins but the world at large.
    Thank you Brenda for sharing the amazing India Hicks!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 25, 2024 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth. I adored her interviews and podcasts with her mother and am so happy they’re still up and available for us to go through them again. India’s design sense is flawless, and yes, the words to use now would be quiet luxury. As far as GEM, it’s one thing to be a board member and an active participant in a charity, but to repeatedly visit a war zone, with your sons, is another. My admiration for her soared when she told me that. She’s such a great role model for all of us, male, female, regardless of age. xoxox, Brenda

    • Elissa Oriti February 17, 2024 at 8:19 am

      How fascinating…all the stories…I am so glad to have found you !!!

  • cindy January 25, 2024 at 7:53 am

    What a wonderful interview Brenda. I have long admired her style and her humanitarian efforts. I love her statement about keeping a neutral background. I couldn’t agree more. Those boots are to die for. I am a huge fan of olive green and I must check out the beautiful linens.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 27, 2024 at 1:40 pm

      Cindy, Don’t you love those boots? Amazing! Thanks, Brenda

  • Allison January 25, 2024 at 8:04 am

    Like your other two comments, I admire India Hicks in so many ways. She is royalty, someone who’s steeped in history and privilege but understands the importance of service to others. Being on the board of Global Empowerment Mission is one thing, but putting herself on the ground in the middle of a war is another. My admiration for her has grown enormously from reading your piece. Thank you for this.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 27, 2024 at 1:43 pm

      Allison, You read my thoughts exactly. While I’m sure GEM took good care of her and her sons, a war is going on there and no one could guarantee her absolute safety. It took guts to go there. xoxox, Brenda

  • Jardine Albert January 25, 2024 at 8:21 am

    My sister was one of India’s “ambassadors” when she was designing and selling her collection. I have many of those pieces and they’re beautiful and of superb quality. India is the epitome of class and beauty. This was exciting to get a glimpse into her world.

    • Katherine January 25, 2024 at 11:49 am

      Hi Brenda,
      India is a beautiful soul on so many different levels and it’s nice to see that she gives back in such a meaningful way. Seeing up close and personal the people of Ukraine must had been life changing for her. War changes everyone’s lives forever.
      We have family in Israel so I have total compassion for war and the people of Ukraine are very present in my mind as well.
      I continue to hope and pray for peace.
      Thank you Brenda and India for opening up your personal life.

      • 1010ParkPlace January 27, 2024 at 1:46 pm

        What a lovely comment, Katherine. Israel is another heartbreaking war. I, too, pray for peace and will include your family as well. xoxox, Brenda

    • 1010ParkPlace January 27, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      Jardin, I, too, have a friend whose sister was one of India’s ambassadors and she has nothing but glowing things to say about her. I have one piece from her collection and am sad I didn’t buy more. Thanks for reading and leaving me a comment. Please stop by again, Brenda

  • Arlo January 25, 2024 at 8:23 am

    Brenda, Your interviews continue to hold my interest. Actually I love all of your blogs. They keep getting better and better and this one is… What can I say? India Hicks? Amazing!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 27, 2024 at 1:47 pm

      I know, Arlo! India Hicks has been a special interview, and I’m thrilled and grateful you like my blogs. What would I do without you? xoxox, Brenda

  • Gray January 25, 2024 at 8:58 am

    Amazing to hear from her in an interview! I absolutely loved her India Hicks line and her new ventures are equally as good. Kudos to India for her staunch support for and work in Ukraine. A beautiful lady – inside and out.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:00 am

      I agree, Gray. It was a treat to talk with her and I’m more impressed with her than ever. xoxox, Brenda

  • Orinda January 25, 2024 at 9:28 am

    Here is a person born to privilege, wealth, family connections and physical beauty. That she has chosen to use all of these assets to improve and rescue the lives of those that have lost almost everything is a testament to her character, the thing I admire most about her. Thank you for your service India Hicks. Thank you Brenda for bringing her story to those of us who would never have known.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:02 am

      You’ve expressed, beautifully, the thing I admire most about her as well, Orinda. She’s truly an outstanding woman. xoxox, Brenda

  • Katherine January 25, 2024 at 10:02 am

    Hi Brenda,
    Wow, I’m taken back by such a wonderful person India is. It’s not often that you get to know someone on such a personal level like her. Giving back like what she does must be personally deeply rewarding. To see the people of Ukraine and how the war has affected them
    has etched a permanent mark on my heart as well in Israel. We have family in Israel I know
    what it can do to you.

    • 1010lParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:06 am

      I’m sorry to hear you have family in Israel, Katherine. The war must have shattered so much of their lives and the lives of people they know. I can’t imagine living with such brutality and fear raging all around you. The same goes for the people of Ukraine, and that India Hicks would put herself in a war to help the people who’ve been affected most is the definition of an angel. Thank you for reading and leaving me a note. xoxox, Brenda

  • Doreen McGettigan January 25, 2024 at 10:25 am

    What a fascinating family history, India. I admire your creativity and thank you for your humanitarian service. I can’t get that young foster boy off my mind. He must be one of many. It’s heartbreaking that in war, the children lose the most, and suffer the most.
    And Brenda, those boots are fabulous! I will check them out and see how long I must eat pasta with plain sauce to afford them.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:14 am

      Of course you can’t get that boy out of your head. You’re the person who took in an elderly homeless woman and cared for her. You have such a big heart, Doreen. Like India! Those boots!!! I know! xoxox, Brenda

  • Colleen January 25, 2024 at 10:41 am

    Brenda,

    I’m delighted with this interview. India is a remarkable woman. Her dedication to humanitarian causes is impressive and her style and creativity inspiring. I can’t wait to dive into her books!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:17 am

      That makes me happy, Colleen. I had Covid during Thanksgiving and since I felt awful, I curled up in bed with three of India’s books and reread every word and every picture caption. Totally inspiring! Thank you, Colleen! xoxox, Brenda

  • Barbara January 25, 2024 at 10:51 am

    India Hicks is an amazing woman! And her style is so very beautiful and chic. Not a lot of jewelry and adornment to distract from the woman and her clothes. I will take that with me as I think about putting an outfit together. Xo, Barb

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:20 am

      I noticed her lack of jewelry as well, Barb, and you’re right: Her minimalism and elegance allow us to see more of the woman. I love her personal style as well as her homes and the pieces she designs. xoxox, Brenda

  • Meg January 25, 2024 at 12:45 pm

    I admire that she’s raising her son to give back to others and in such a huge way. Going to Ukraine can’t be easy, mentally or physically. Where do they even spend the night? I admire her so much for stepping outside her immediate world to go there and at the same time, using her contacts to help others. She’s a remarkable woman. This was truly a wonderful glimpse into a woman I would never had the opportunity to know. Thank you for this, Brenda. This is my first time to comment, but I want you to know how much you inspire me, the way you help your friend and her challenged son and how you make us aware of things that are in our best interest and we need to know. You’re a remarkable woman yourself. Best, Meg

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:24 am

      Thank you, Meg, for reading and leaving me such a beautiful comment. India’s selfless actions remind us that we’re here to “love our neighbors” and help them in any way we can, and we do it without any thought of compensation in return. We do it because “there for the grace of God go I.” We could, and more than likely will be, in need of their help someday. Blessings, and I look forward to reading more of your comments and getting to know you. Brenda

  • Carmen Douglas January 25, 2024 at 1:00 pm

    I’m going to sound like an echo chamber here, but India Hicks is an amazing woman. She’s alerted me to the fact that I need to reach out more in my community and find ways to help others. I’m raising my grandchildren, and I want them to realize that even though they don’t have everything they want, other people are far worse off than they are. This was a wakeup call for me so thank you India and Brenda.

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:27 am

      Oh, Carmen! It was a wakeup call for me as well. I have every good intention of showing up and volunteering, weekly, in several ways, but it doesn’t take much to throw me off track. I need to make reaching out more important than “scheduling a haircut” at the same time. I haven’t seen you here, before. Welcome, if you’re new, and thanks for reading and leaving me a comment. Brenda

  • Sarah G January 25, 2024 at 2:51 pm

    I don’t know what to say, Brenda. You’ve stunned me with your story about India Hicks. I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t shared a lot of myself or my time with those who need it, but I’m inspired to do better. My heart and my conscience thanks you. What an amazing woman!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:32 am

      You’re not the only one, Sarah, who hasn’t found the time to volunteer to help those who need it. Every week, my church makes sandwiches for the homeless. I go for two weeks and then for some less important reason, it falls off my radar. I, too, am inspired to do better. Blessings, Brenda

  • Yvonne January 25, 2024 at 3:38 pm

    What a remarkable woman! !So important to share the wealth with those who need it the most. Thank you, Brenda for sharing this lovely interview

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:35 am

      I agree, Yvonne. India Hicks is a remarkable woman, but she’s sharing her life and herself, using her contacts to help people in need. Much more important than if she just wrote a check and that was it. She’s made it her mission to change the lives of people in need. Sort of a Mother Teresa dressed in Saint Laurent. xoxox, Brenda

  • La Contessa January 25, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    The CONTESSA HAS MET HER AND LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!She is a JEWEL.
    I love her chats with her Mother!
    The stories the memories all very very special.
    Xxx

    • 1010ParkPlace January 28, 2024 at 11:37 am

      Lucky you, Elizabeth! Aren’t her podcasts with her mother special? Her family has always been in the midst of historic times. Key players and people of service. So admirable. xoxox, Brenda

  • Mortgage Broker Australia January 28, 2024 at 11:02 pm

    Fascinating read about India Hicks’s journey from socialite to design icon and philanthropist! It’s inspiring to see how she’s channeled her heritage and experiences into creating a unique brand across fashion, interiors, and activism.

    As a mortgage broker, I’m particularly drawn to her emphasis on mindful living and creating spaces that reflect personal stories. It resonates with the trend of homeowners seeking meaningful spaces that reflect their values and individuality.

    Perhaps a future blog post could explore how this translates to home design choices, considering the financial implications of renovations and potential resale value?

    Overall, a captivating glimpse into a remarkable woman’s world – thanks for sharing!

    • 1010ParkPlace January 31, 2024 at 1:34 pm

      Happy you enjoyed my interview with India Hicks. She is, indeed, a remarkable woman. Thank you, Brenda

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