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David Hicks

Explore the life story of Ashley's father, David Hicks, who is widely regarded as the most influential interior designer of his generation. His style, known through his own books and through Ashley's 'David Hicks: A Life of Design,' has been a foremost influence on contemporary designers of both fashion and home.

DAVID HICKS

 

David Hicks (1929-98) has emerged as the most influential interior designer of his generation. His style, known through his own books and through Ashley's David Hicks: A Life of Design, has been a foremost influence on contemporary designers of both fashion and home.

 

David Hicks, photographed in 1959

David Hicks was born in the English country village of Coggeshall, Essex. After public school at Charterhouse and studies in art and design at the Central School in London, he launched his design career with the decoration of his own house in London in 1954.

Early clients mixed aristocracy, media and fashion (Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubinstein, the Duchess of Rutland and Mrs Condé Nast). Hicks married Lady Pamela Mountbatten in 1960 and was soon making carpets for Windsor Castle and decorating the Prince of Wales' first apartment at Buckingham Palace.

Hicks first started to design patterned carpets and fabrics in 1963 when he found none on the market that he could use. These and his dynamic colour sense formed the basis of a style which was much admired and copied. In 1967, Hicks began working in the USA, designing apartments in Manhattan for an international clientele, and at the same time promoting his carpet and fabric collections.

In the 70's and 80's David Hicks shops opened in fifteen countries around the world. Hicks designed everything from the Okura Hotel in Tokyo to the yacht of the King of Saudi Arabia. Hicks was a talented photographer and also made paintings and sculptures. He produced fashion and jewelry collections. He designed the interior of a BMW and scarlet-heeled men's evening shoes.

David Hicks spent the last years of his life living increasingly in the country, in Oxfordshire, where he created one of the most extraordinary gardens in England. Hicks designed several gardens around the world. These, together with his own and other gardens both historical and contemporary, can be seen in his last book My Kind of Garden, which he was working on when he died in 1998, and which was then edited and published by Ashley Hicks. David Hicks even designed his own coffin, in which he 'lay in state', according to his precise instructions, in the ground-floor room of the Gothic pavilion of his own design which he had been given by his wife Pamela as a 60th birthday present.

David Hicks, photographed in his study at The Grove