Divine decorators Part 2: David Hicks

Born in 1929, David Hicks was a legendary British interior designer who was famed for his use of bold, vibrant colours, geometric patterns and for his slick, masculine style. He was also something of a pioneer in combining the antique with the modern, a design trick that has stood the test of time. In fact, what is so amazing about these images of Hicks’ designs is that they could just as easily be of contemporary interiors as images from nearly half a century ago.

Hicks became a star in the world of interior decoration in the Sixties and Seventies designing for high society clients such as Vidal Sassoon, Helena Rubenstein and a host of dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies – he even decorated the Prince of Wales’ first apartment in Buckingham Palace. In fact, Hicks really set the definitive style of the swinging Sixties, working with the architect Patrick Garnett to design high end restaurants for Peter Evans, a wealthy entrepreneur, who said, “Hicks was without a doubt a genius. He would walk into the most shambolic of spaces that I had decided would be a restaurant, a pub or a nightclub and, lighting up a cigarette, would be out of the place within ten minutes, having decided what atmosphere it would generate because of what it would look like. He always got it spot on.”

When he could not find anything available on the market that he considered to be good enough, Hicks started to design his own carpet and textile collections and soon had stores across the world. Today, his son Ashley safeguards his legacy with textile, carpet and wallpaper collections based on the archived designs.

As Tom Ford said, Hicks’ style is “a rulebook for instant elegance” and his use of bright block colours, contrasting patterns and modern furniture in traditional settings looks as fresh today as it did fifty years ago.

A life long smoker, Hicks died in 1998, aged 69, from lung cancer, but his legacy lives on through his timeless style.