Passion Points: Style
If you want to lounge about in the sun glamorously, in clothing, which packs brilliantly and is both sexy and bohemian, designer Allegra Hicks is your woman. Her shop in Knightsbridge London (28 Cadogan Place; 44 (0) 20-7235-8989) has long been a magnet for the jet-set and now, at last, her breezy look is landing in a sleek new store on Madison Avenue (1007 Madison Avenue; 212-249-4241). Renowned for her unique aristo-artiste sense of style, Allegra creates collections that meld an exquisite eye for detail and an inherent understanding for the casually sophisticated wardrobe of the modern traveler. Here, INDAGARE speaks to “The Queen of Kaftans,” as she has been called, about shopping, travel and her inspirations.
What are your favorite shops abroad? Soho Soho in Athens (8 Kolokotroni Street, Kifissia; (30) 210-623-4707) for a great selection of international fashion; the Gem Palace in Jaipur (M.I. Road; (91) 141-2374175; www.gempalacejaipur.com), the most atmospheric jewelry shop anywhere, and Christian Louboutin (38, Rue Grenelle; (33) 1-42-22-33-07) in Paris – essential!
When did you last find a bargain? About a year ago in Buenos Aires, I bought an amazing Persian lamb vintage coat for ten bucks. I do not know the name of the vintage shop, but the Palermo Viejo neighborhood is full of designer stores and vintage shops. B.A. is fantastic for shopping and the vintage scene is particularly good.
What do you dream of buying? I don’t really hanker for anything. I prefer to stumble across something unusual in a flea market. I like I Gran Balon Market in Turin; Porta Portese in Rome; and of course, Clignancourt in Paris. I suggest time for flea markets, no rushing and don’t worry about getting dirty!
What did you last splash out on? An exquisite ring from the Medusa collection of the London-based jewelry team of Legge & Braine (www.leggeandbraine.com). It’s big and made of Murano glass, so it catches the light.
Where has been your greatest inspiration for work and why? Definitely India, and in particular Rajasthan, for the colors, techniques, craftsmanship, and immediateness of results. They are an incredibly skilled people. My favorite hotels in India are the Imperial in New Delhi (Janpath; (91) 11-2334-1234; fax: (91)-11-2334-2255; www.theimperialindia.com) for its buzzy historic atmosphere; the Oberoi vilas properties, especially Rajvilas in Jaipur (Goner Rd.; (91) 141-268-0101; fax: 91-141-268-0202; www.oberoirajvilas.com), which run like clockwork and have set a new standard of luxury in Rajasthan; and beautiful little heritage hotels like the Samode Haveli in Jaipur where the Maharaja and Maharani suites are covered with glittering mirrored mosaics (Gangapole; (91) 141-263-2370; fax: 141-263-1397; www.samode.com).
Where has been your greatest inspiration from a personal point of view? Varanasi, again in India, is inspiring in a more complete way. It’s a spiritual place where you can see life and death at the same time.
Whose style do you most admire? Coco Chanel. She was great, and very modern for her time.
How would you describe your own style? Eclectic, sophisticated bohemian.
What is your favorite item of clothing? A dress. You put it on and you don’t have to think about anything else. It’s one item, but it does everything.
What do you never leave home without? Lipstick. I have lots of different ones but my favorite at the moment is a berry red one by Jemma Kidd.
Is beauty or function more important? They are definitely as important as each other.
Do you have a travel uniform? Yes, for airplane travel I wear ballerinas, black trousers or jeans, a t-shirt with a cashmere jumper and a black suede coat. Simple and comfortable is best.
Do you have packing routines? Yes, I pack similar items into separate L.L. Bean travelling bags and then put them inside my suitcase. So all my t-shirts go in one bag, all my pants in another. It’s a really useful, organized way of travelling, especially if you have kids. Although my fourteen-year-old daughter now packs for herself, I don’t want to go there. It’s a disaster area.
In what way do you feel your clothes are particularly well suited for travel? Their relaxed style works anywhere, and the kaftans are obviously made for beach and boat life
What is your most treasured possession from abroad? A necklace that my husband and I made up from chunky turquoise beads in Taxco, Mexico – you only notice they are skulls if you look really hard!
What is your favorite hotel? The Amanresort Amanwella in Sri Lanka. We went for an anniversary. It has a beautiful modern design in a spectacular location—like stepping into a 1970s fantasy. (94) 47 224-1333; fax: 94-47-224-1334; From the U.S. 800-477-9180; www.amanwella.com.
Where do you dream to travel next? I’d love to go to China and Japan. It’s an area of the world I’ve never been.
Where will you always return to? And why? India. If you fall in love with India, you always return. It gets under your skin.
Do you collect anything on your travels? Yes. Shells from the Bahamas, ganeshas from India and coral from Naples.
If you could be transported to any place, at any time, where would you go? Florence in the Renaissance. There was so much happening in the artistic world, and I think to have been a woman at the time would have been fun, although I might have objected to be treated as my father or husband’s property!
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