Habitually Chic: India Hicks

Here is a sneak preview of my Casaviva India interview with the uber-glam model, author, beauty expert and designer India Hicks, who is inevitably linked to this country given her pedigree as Lord Mountbatten’s granddaughter. She is currently revelling in her role as spokesperson for Crabtree & Evelyn, who also encouraged her to develop her own home and body line called India Hicks Island Living, based on the indigenous knowledge she has garnered over a decade of living full time on an island in the Bahamas.

You don’t wear make-up. Is that your flawless skin secret?

I have my mother to thank for good skin! However, I do believe plenty of sleep, water and cleansing help maintain my skin’s appearance.

How do you keep in such good shape?

I run for an hour every evening on the beach with my two dogs but I run slowly. I went to Gordonstoun School so I’ve always been very active.

What triggered the line for Crabtree & Evelyn?

I had written two books: Island Life – an interiors book on the houses we developed; and Island Beauty – focusing on beauty and well being. When Crabtree & Evelyn asked me to be their brand spokesperson and do my own line, it seemed like a natural flow on from there.

So the products reflect your island lifestyle?

The packaging is reminiscent of our house and guest houses – all wood, paper and straw and very neutral tones with a sudden flash of colour. And all the products involve flowers and plants indigenous to the Caribbean.

Which products fit effortlessly into your island routine?

After the kids wake me at six I want to just get up and go. I’ll shower using the shower gel before taking the boys to school in the golf cart. I also have very dry skin so the rich body cream is perfect. Plus I run every day so the bath salts, which are full of Epsom salts, sooth my muscles in my evening bath.

Not being a big scent wearer, was it difficult creating a fragrance?

I knew I wanted a light and uplifting scent but I didn’t know the language fragrance houses use, so I explained using colours saying things like: ‘I don’t like purple but cream and white appeal to me.’ I’ve ended up with exactly what I wanted: A clean, white scent that I can wear day and night. It’s based on the amazing looking Spider Lily that grows on the island.

Do you have a favourite product?

The body polish, which looks like the pink sand from the island and gives your skin a healthy glow. I also love the scented candle for travelling because the fragrance reminds me of the island breeze that comes off the ocean onto the terrace.

Any travel beauty tips?

When flying I always moisturise; not just my face, but my whole body. I am never without lip salve and drink lots and lots of water.

Aishwarya & Sabayasachi: The perfect partnership at Cannes

Finally, finally, finally…. Aishwarya Rai showcased a sari at Cannes and did it (almost) perfectly!! She walked the red carpet for the premiere of Outrage draped in a stunning burnished gold creation by Sabyasachi, accompanied by hubby Abhishek Bachchan.

Dramatic eye makeup, sculpted cheeks, nude lips (see, we told you the ‘play up one feature’ trick works wonders!!), minimal jewellery and a tiny bindi made her look completely different, far prettier and much, much better than the weird blends of Day 1 & Day 2.

So, why “almost”? I still think that she looks far better with open hair – the tightly pulled back style makes her look too severe, a tad matronly and older than usual.

Cannes day 5: Aishwarya rocks. Abhishek… uh?

There is just something about Cannes that seems to bring out the worst in Aish – otherwise known as one of the world’s most beautiful and stylish woman. Except, maybe, sort of, these last two days. The black Hervé Leger black dress, complete with understated makeup, minimal jewellery and tumbling curls totally rocked at a photo call for Raavan.

The arm candy could have done with some (lots!!) of work though. Red leather jacket, blue denims, black shoes – exactly what were you thinking Abhishek??

Aishwarya inching forward in the Cannes fashion stakes

Another day, another ensemble… this time a ruched magenta chiffon gown from Gucci, with a twisted halter neck and satin waist band that skims and hugs her figure in just the right places.

Gone is the puffy look, the hair is elegant and swept back into a sleek ponytail – thankfully, no beehive, though I still think she should go softer with open curls – and almost nude eyes and lip, offset by bronzed skin and sculpted cheekbones.

Yes, understatement works, as Aish seems to have realised on the third day of the Cannes Film Festival, where she walked the red carpet for the  premiere of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, accompanied by her mother, Vrinda Rai.

Photo credit: VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images