Despite being straight off a plane from London (“This could be dangerous”) and confessing that she was already a couple of glasses of champagne in (“Quite dangerous”), British designer, entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, model, and mother of five India Hicks dazzled Texas Design Week-goers during her illustrated talk and book signing at OKA’s West Alabama jewel box store in Houston. Dressed in a cream blazer and wide-legged denim, Hicks made one devilishly funny quip after the next in the most prim and posh of accents and did not appear one bit the weary traveler.
In addition to OKA’s quintessentially English homewares and delightful faux-bloom-filled greenhouse, there was plenty to amuse the evening’s sold-out crowd — including a caftan pop-up with British brand Hester Bly, a collaboration between Hicks and the line’s founder, Gemma Street. The limited-edition Tigers of India capsule collection is filled with vibrant prints in bold colors and was inspired by the lives of five trailblazing Indian women.
Fittingly, the evening’s signature cocktail was a hot-pink Tigerini consisting of prickly-pear purée mixed with fresh lemonade, vodka, a splash of soda, and mint. or once could go British could with a classic gin and tonic.
Hicks was delighted that most guests had cocktails in hand as they settled in for an illustrated talk featuring content from her newest book, An Entertaining Story (Rizzoli), followed by a book signing. “Oh, Houston, we’re doing this so right,” she laughed. The book, in typical India Hicks fashion, is filled with island-inspired tablescapes (Hicks and her family call Harbour Island home), personal anecdotes (such as inviting the King of Spain — a distant relative — for a casual dinner), and an unconventionally genius order of operations (the final chapter of the book covers breakfast; chapter one, of course, is cocktail hour). “I always say find somewhere interesting to have your drinks. It doesn’t matter. Don’t just do it in the same old place. Find a treehouse and have a drink in a treehouse,” she said. “Drink anywhere. Drink in OKA!”
Between tales of growing up with her famous decorator father, David Hicks, and mother, Lady Pamela Mountbatten, as well as her storied grandparents, the Earl and Countess Mountbatten, Hicks offered ways to keep entertaining fresh when one lives on a three-mile-long island. She also shared her passion for the Global Empowerment Mission, a disaster-relief nonprofit on whose board she serves, and the Harbour Island Food Bank, which she established during the pandemic. After her trip to Houston, Hicks planned to return to London to take a first aid course ahead of a trip back to Poland to help those in need on the Ukrainian border.
Adding to the dizzying list of India Hicks’ latest endeavors, she previewed her new bag collection, a collaboration with Tustin, a British heritage brand that’s been operated by the same family for five generations since 1875.
Hicks manages all this and more with a grounded perspective and always a dash of humor. “We, especially women, feel that we need to have everything so perfect all the time and to live our lives at such a high standard. I think it’s okay to actually chill out a little bit,” she said, adding that her entertaining style is intimate, unpolished, and slightly haphazard all at once. “If your plates don’t match, it’s okay.”
Thank you to our Texas Design Week Houston sponsors: New Orleans Auction Galleries, Monogram Luxury Appliances, and Decorative Center Houston.
Seen: OKA’s Liv Stribling, Katie Fonseca, James Turner, Emily Hart; Tarek El-Bjeirmi, Ceron, Taylor Eichenwald, Wendy Tull, Abbi Parker, Jay Bostick, Tracy and Jay Motley, Susan Bailey, Aldona Spiegel, Mary Vu, Julie Koch, Kathryn and Jeff Smith, Karly Rauch, Lizzie Erickson, Brooke Lesa, and Natalie Steen.