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Sugar Mill In The News: India Hicks Grows Into Her DNA
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Posted by:Jul 23rd 2011, 08:16:10 pm
Fig Tree News TeamVon Hahn: India Hicks grows into her famous DNA
Published On Thu Jul 21

India Hicks just launched a new collection of jewelry drawing on once and future inspirations.

BERNARD WEIL/TORONTO STAR

By Karen von Hahn
Fashion Columnist

On the day I meet with India Hicks — an heiress-apparent to design royalty — she is tan, taut and as square-jawed as her famous father, determinedly teetering along a flagstone path for the Star photographer in six-inch heels and a skin-tight camel dress that reveals an impossibly tiny waist for a mother of four.

Her father is the late legendary designer David Hicks. Her mother, Lady Pamela Hicks, is a Mountbatten, daughter to the Earl and Countess of Burma (hence India’s whimsical name). In her salad days she was a model for the likes of Ralph Lauren. For the past 16 years she has lived on an island in the Bahamas with her husband David Flint Wood and raised four children (stylish names appear to run in the family — her kids are Felix, Amory, Conrad, and Domino).

This sybaritic existence has spawned a veritable India Hicks lifestyle industry: the woman has not one but two signature fragrance and body care collections with Crabtree & Evelyn, along with two coffee table books to her credit (one on Island Living and the other on fitness and beauty), and is now launching her own fine jewellery line, soon to be available here at Holt Renfrew, at Bloomingdale’s in the U.S., and on her own newly launched e-commerce site, Sugar Mill by India Hinks. Recently in the spotlight as a commentator on the royal wedding for ABC, she was able to offer a uniquely insider point of view, having been a bridesmaid for Diana. “At this point, after living on an island for 16 years, and starting several businesses and raising four kids, I no longer feel like I’m just ‘the daughter of,’ or ‘the goddaughter of,’ ” says Hicks (whose godfather is Prince Charles). “And yet, in coming up with the designs for this jewellery collection, it became clear that the past is as important as my present.”

Indeed, she has reprised her father’s most famous motifs — the honeycomb, the intertwined H symbol — with her new “Hicks on Hicks” jewellery collection, while the “Love Letters” collection also mines the classic geometric lines of her father’s iconic 1970s designs with a modern, feminine twist. “I was looking through his archives and came across an alphabet he had sketched in one of his scrapbooks,” says Hicks. “I forget whether the ‘Q’ was for the Queen or whether she was ‘E’ for Elizabeth, but the forms for each letter were really very lovely and I immediately imagined them as jewellery.”

Hicks is loathe to call herself a “designer” per se, perhaps because of her loaded pedigree, although she will admit to being a “good editor.”

“I can see very clearly what will work and what doesn’t.”

In Hicks’ opinion, the essence of style is confidence. “It’s about being true to yourself and also possibly having a unique take on things.”

With her Love Letters collection, which takes the unusual direction of combining stainless steel with diamonds, Hicks was prepared to braze jewellery convention. “There’s nothing frilly about it, it’s very strong, but I thought it was cool.” The wearer she imagines as a “40-year-old working woman who is fairly sure of herself” — someone quite a bit like Hicks herself.

When asked if she thinks style is something that one learns or is inherited, Hicks laughs. “Well that is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? I think people can be born with an innate sense of style. It’s something that can be in the blood, but you can also absorb it.” In her case, Hicks adds, “growing up under the imposing eye of David Hicks for so long, it’s probably in my DNA.”

And yet Hicks firmly believes style is not exclusive. “We can all educate ourselves in the world of design and fashion, go to the museums and read the fashion and decor books and magazines and come to know and understand what we like and relate to.”

Clearly Hicks believes her own personal style has ripened over the years, and that she has come to develop her own tastes and find her own unique voice. “If style is about self-knowledge,” she offers, “we all mature in our sense of self.”

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