Sophistication and fun go hand-in-hand in the world of Allegra Hicks. That trademark combination is what first drew us to this renowned designer’s stylish textiles, and we love her work even more now that we have our own collaboration collection together! We were lucky enough to sit down with the London-based Hicks to talk world travel, interior design, and dinner parties…
What have been some of the biggest inspirations for your designs?
Inspiration is more complicated than just taking a trip. You see different things and they go to the back of your head. Then 5 or 6 years later they come back different. In India, I was blown away by the colors. Most inspiring place in the universe. Different things inspire me. A beautiful painting, nature, anything that captures my eye and stays in my memory will inspire at one point in my work.
What is your studio process like?
I like to design when I travel. There are a lot of drawings (more doodles than drawings) in my Moleskin sketchbook. Thick pencil, watercolour paper, and a few brushes come with me wherever I go. These are for the moments of inspiration, silence, and calm. Then I get back to my studio, I listen to my favorite music – at the moment Bach’s Goldeberg Variations and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro – and I get to work on editing my sketches. The best feeling is when a sketch becomes a product.
What about your approach to decorating interiors?
Color in space has always been the starting point in my approach to decorating. I think colors set the tone of a house. I have an eclectic style. I love to mix old and new, and I believe the house has to reflect one’s way of life to make it work.
Great travelers are invariably the best hosts. What are some of your favorite places to take visitors in London?
In the Spring I love to take guests to Kew Gardens to see the wonderful magnolias. I love going to the café at the V&A. Undoubtedly there is always something beautiful at the V&A, one of my favorite museums in London, so it’s lovely to stop off at the café. I also adore the Columbia Road Flower Market on Sundays. It has a great atmosphere.
Speaking of which, we really love your Flower Arranger. What types of flowers would you suggest with it?
At the moment it’s Dahlia season so I would put 5 or 6 dahlias cut very short and fill it completely. The beauty of the flower arranger is that you can use very few long stemmed flowers, or for your dinner table, you could fill it with short-stemmed dahlias or roses.
Have you ever had any home entertaining disasters?
Almost! I was once cooking a roast and the oven stopped working. I didn’t notice until my guests started arriving. Luckily a few of them were vegetarians anyway so I improvised a pasta dish and the disaster was averted.
What’s your definition of a successful dinner party?
A beautifully-decorated table, candlelight, delicious but simple food, and of course mixing old friends with new.