India Hicks Perfects Island Style
by lauren finney
“Paradise: Supplies sold here.” With a motto like this one, which opens her website’s home page, India Hicks—model-turned-jewelry designer, author, philanthropist, and interior designer—truly captures the tropical spirit for which she’s so well known. As a busy and shrewd businesswoman, mother of five, and with friends across the globe (as goddaughter to Prince Charles, her custom-designed cuff links for the new royal baby Prince George recently grabbed headlines), the Harbour Island, Bahamas, resident is always on the move. “Miami is one of my first ports of call when I leave the island,” she says. “I have a very intense relationship with it.”
Miami, where Hicks spent much of her youth, holds a lot of nostalgia for her. “I started going there at a very young age. [My father designed this] very remarkable house on Star Island, the home of Dan Paul—anybody from my generation, and certainly Miami, knows the name. He was one of the advocates for preserving nature and conservation. He was an extraordinary man and allowed me to stay with him every year on Star Island since I was 11. To see the city changing from what it used to be into this vibrant place was extraordinary, and I really feel like I’ve grown up with Miami and seen those changes [first hand].”
Personal experience is something that plays heavily into Hicks’s design of her three jewelry collections: Island Life, Hicks on Hicks, and Love Letters. “[My jewelry] is all very, very personal, and I think I do have a somewhat different life by having chosen to leave a very formal and traditional and classical British upbringing to move to the small island, really in the middle of nowhere,” she muses. “So much now of what I do, and my passion for design, comes from an individual life and a life that’s led more distantly.”
Thus the inspiration for her latest line, Island Life. “This new collection of jewelry is all gold vermeil and diamonds. We have different stories: One is the fishtail, one is bows and arrows, one is moon phases, and one is palm fronds,” she says. “What I’ve tried not to do is to have a very obvious Caribbean cruise ship in my Island Life; it’s a more understated island life. Mother Nature has done an awful lot of the design.”
This modesty and penchant for giving credit where it is due transfer over to her other two jewelry collections as well. “I realized that my past is very much intertwined with my present. Having been brought up under the incredible eye of my father [designer David Hicks], and living with the extraordinary and the luxurious and his very dramatic sense of style, [I realized] that was my DNA and it would be hard to get away from that. I needed to recognize that that was in me.” From this, the Hicks on Hicks collection was born, which features her take on her father’s famous geometric designs.
Again, Hicks summons where her past and present meet in the Love Letters collection. “Love Letters was really a mistake. I was going through my father’s archives, and I found a piece of paper that was the David Hicks geometric writing paper, and there, of course, is the entire alphabet from A to Z, done with his extraordinary sort of geometric stamp over it,” she explains. “I could not have possibly ignored that, so we had to launch the Love Letters collection. I’ve always said that my father was a brilliant designer and he could at times be a tricky father, but I am very cognizant of the fact that without him having been my father, I would not have now the drive and passion that I have for work and life and design. In a way, I call this my love letter back to him in thanking him for opening my eyes to a world of design.”
One can sense Hicks’s personal connections and memories resonating through everything that she touches, not just her jewelry. One of her favorite places to visit and create new memories while in Miami is Casa Tua, of which she is a founding member. “I take great pride in that because Casa Tua is everything that embodies the life that I love, which is low-key and elegant, yet has a strong message of heritage and style.”
She says, “I am very blessed that I love what I do, and that I’m able to do it and able to make it work from this tiny island, and of course that entails a great deal of negotiating, airport security, and all the agony of modern-day travel, so there really is a price for paradise. I do feel that life is for living, and I am trying to live it to its fullest.” India Hicks Fine Jewelry, Aquamarine, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., 305-674-4783
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