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Anse de Grande Saline

James Andrew at Grande Saline.

A holiday at Saint-Barth is all about exploring the many magnificent beaches – though of course one should not forget to pair one’s beach destination with a lovely local lunch as well.

Le Plage Saline.

Grande Saline occupies a large and quite untouched cove where you will be met by the dreamiest of turquoise seas, powdery white sands, and yes, a few talcumed derrieres as well – for going au natural is not only acceptable here, but virtually a commandment – we are in the French West Indies after all!



For lunch – Le Grain de Sel – exquisite French and Creole cuisine with a super casual vibe – the perfect place to stop and refill after a tough morning of sunbathing.

I’m sporting a black and white cotton gingham shirt with black trim by Gucci, shorts by Our Legacy 1980-81 in hemp, cotton, and silk; purple crocodile belt with sterling buckle from Ralph Lauren, sunglasses by Lanvin, sandal espadrilles by Christian Louboutin underneath a Robinson Les Bains “Amalfi” bikini in purple.

India Hicks

India Hicks and her dogs, Samson and Olympia, with James Andrew at the entrance to Hibiscus Hill.

A few months ago I was thrilled to receive the most fabulous note from India Hicks suggesting a Harbour Island visit to photograph my wardrobe. I’d of course seen India Hicks from afar – gracing the pages of glossy fashion magazines, while modeling for major designers like Ralph Lauren. And recently I was enthralled with her appearance on the popular program, “Top Design.” Needless to say the prospect of meeting her in person in combination with a longed for pilgrimage to her father’s Savannah, had me giddy as a school girl.

And of course I DID meet India, and now I’m madly in love – India Hicks is a SWAN – “attractive, alert, and au courant” as Capote defined the term. And we do love that absolutely Englishy wit – always served like the very best dry martini.

A pair of gorgeous stone whippets flank the entrance to Hibiscus Hill.

As might be expected from the grand daughter of the first Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and daughter to one of the most original designers of the twentieth century, India marches to her own utterly unique drum. I think Anna Wintour put it most beautifully – “whilst we might all dream of that great escape from it all on a magical island, India Hicks and David Flint Wood have made the dream a viable, working reality for themselves and their young family, bringing their own dynamic, modern touch to a legacy of high style.”

Several brilliantly realized examples of the above mentioned “working reality” can be seen in India Hicks’ enterprising endeavors. Take for instance her line of scrumptious Island Living products for Crabtree and Evelyn – In her own words, “…natural through and through, all [the] nasties have been removed. All [the] packaging [is] reusable – a true reflection of an island life, drawn from my memories of growing up on Windermere as a child. The Casuarina trees, with their clean green smell, the Spider lily flower, a true survivor which needs little nurturing.”

And prolific? Yes. In fact India has authored two books – Island Life in which you’ll get an intimate view of her homes – these are particularly meaningful she tells us, as they are “…a reflection of a living archive that holds the treasures of our personal life.” – And Island Beauty in which she shares her holistic approach, demonstrating how “island wisdom” can help women everywhere to rejuvenate both their outer and inner selves…Beauty in the Bahamas comes in all shapes, sizes, and colours,” she tells us. “It opened my eyes.”

Sign for The Sugar Mill.

Also should you find yourself on Harbour Island, do visit Linda Griffin and India’s super chic boutique, The Sugar Mill – where you’ll find what India describes as an “…accumulated collection from wanderings around the world….” Now that has got to peak your interest. We’ve included here a picture of The Sugar Mill’s edgy logo – and yes, you’ll undoubtedly find a must-have hidden treasure here!

Suffice it to say the list of India’s doings extends well beyond the scope here at WIJW, and perhaps we have gone on a bit – Its just that, as you will recall me mentioning a few paragraphs back, we at WIJW are terribly in love! Certainly you can look forward to future posts and updates regarding all things India Hicks!

James Andrew in front of The Cricket Pavillion at Hibiscus Hill

Posing in front of The Cricket Pavillion at Hibiscus Hill, I’m sporting a smashing straw hat with black grosgrain ribbon trim from The Sugar Mill, white linen jacket by Gucci, white and pink silk retro print pocket square by Charvet Paris, heavily embroidered white cotton voile Kurta from India (thanks to Kuki), white skinny jeans from Uniglo, Christian Louboutin black leather sandal/espadrille – and my fragrance is Royal Water by Creed.

Savannah

James Andrew at David Hicks' Savannah.

At last we’ve made our pilgrimage to Savannah, David Hicks’ tropical masterpiece on Windermere Island’s Savannah Sound.

Let me tell you, it was one of those most sublime thrills to experience this tropical masterwork in person. You may have heard me go on quite a bit about the British born Hicks – and I’ve had good reason! He was quite simply one of the most prolific, innovative, and sought after decorators of the twentieth century – his touch extended into every conceivable design forum, from aristocratic homes, to set design, to fashion, to industrial design, to landscape design etc. etc. etc. – and his genius was only matched by his bigger than life persona. Needless to say much of what I do has been inspired by David Hicks – so you can only imagine how honored I was when the London Telegraph described me as an “…updated David Hicks.” – High praise that I aspire to live up to one day!

Savannah became of keen interest to me especially when I learned that it has remained virtually unchanged since it was completed in 1969. I’ve had the great fortune to speak with Ashley and India Hicks who graciously provided me with fascinating background information on the property.

Tomb of King Djoser at Saqqara.

Briefly stated, it was on David Hicks and Lady Pamela Mountbatten’s Bahaman honeymoon that they fell in love with the islands and decided they should have a home there. Originally the Hickses and Lady Pamela Mountbatten’s sister, the Countess Mountbatten of Burma, had acquired a property at Lyford Cay but were subsequently convinced by Sir Harold Christie to buy property on Windermere Island instead. They enlisted the help of Nassau architect Robert Stokes to build their homes and as India Hicks put it with the sort of familiarity that only a family member could have, her “aunt built a ‘proper’ house on the beach… and her father constructed a mausoleum to the sun!” David Hicks had been to Egypt and was deeply fascinated with the tomb of King Djoser at Saqqara – It was this tomb that Ashley Hicks tells me was the inspiration behind his father’s Egyptian fantasy. Ashley Hicks sent me this fantastic image of King Djoser’s tomb (left). Do pick up Ashley Hicks’ book, David Hicks: Designer to see more fabulous images of this spectacular structure.

Paying Homage to the great David Hicks I’m pictured standing in front of Savannah’s monumental entrance way, absorbing some of Hick’s enduring brilliance – I’m sporting lemon yellow jeans by Cassette, palest pink safari shirt and silver chain link belt both by Gucci, black leather sandal/espadrille by Christian Louboutin, KVA sunglasses by Oliver peoples my fragrance is Citrus Bigarrade by Creed.