Vintage Design: What 1960s Interior Design Legend David Hicks Taught Us


We recently saw India Hicks speak in Toronto – famed designer of jewelry, model, author, and daughter of the interior design legend David Hicks. She spoke about the impact her father had on the world of interior design and how he influenced her own design choices today. David Hick’s taste for design colour, pattern, and symmetry was unmistakable. His choice of shocking contrasts and mixing styles was brave and he left a huge mark on the world of interior design from the late 1950s to the 1970s that is still copied today.

“Good taste has nothing to do with money.” - David Hicks

Graphic color clashes with a calm control for the placement of furniture in a room, make his work recognizable. And in these spaces he designed you will also find the famously coined term Tablescapes. A combination of zen symmetry and groupings on tables and desks that provide an experience beyond the room itself and take you into a smaller world of design choices at a micro level. Much like Frank Lloyd Wright chose the furniture that went into each home he designed and built, David Hicks had complete control of his own and his client’s environments. And he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loved control.

David Hicks Brown Room - Connected

Every bed sheet, every curtain, every inch of fabric on his own jacket was about control. There wasn’t so much as a wrinkle of crease anywhere. His combinations of mixing antique and modern furniture together with abstract art left an unmistakable feeling upon entering a room. Helena Rubenstein lifted her skirt and tore a strip of magenta fabric from under her dress as the inspiration for her famous living room, where walls were made purple, Victorian chairs were covered with magenta leather, and the colour swallowed you whole.


“My greatest contribution as an interior designer has been to show people how to use bold color mixtures, how to use patterned carpets, how to light rooms, and how to mix old with new’’ – David Hicks

David Hicks Mixing Victorian and Abstract

David was bold, and if we are to take his words to heart it would be to take chances and mix styles. He believed that it was regular to hang a painting on a wall, you simply had to do things differently to create a different interior experience. David Hicks’ work can open your eyes to color choices that up until the 1960s were never dreamed of. The opus of books he left behind and his inspiring spirit, leap from the pages David Hicks was pure inspiration and he gave us an infectious zeal for life itself.

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