“I do miss my home in Italy sometimes”, the interior and fashion designer Allegra Hicks once said. “I think everyone always does miss their homeland. I miss most of all my sense of belonging, my roots and the smell. But London is a wonderful city and I don’t think I could live anywhere else now.”



Never say never, Allegra. Roots run deep, especially when one comes from such a breath-taking country like Italy. It has been said that part of her innate sense of colour and shape was fostered by her design-conscious parents Carlo and Rosy Tondato. Her father, a physicist and musician, helped design the family home while her mother was passionate about modern architecture.


“My Italian upbringing was very traditional,” Hicks has said. “But I went out into a very modern world early on in my life. This duality has influenced my work in that I have a great sense of tradition and belonging in my work on the one hand, and I explore modern worlds on the other”.


The creator of exquisite textiles, who completed her design studies in Milan, studied trompe l’oeil and fresco painting in Belgium and later attended Parsons School of Design in New York, spent many years in London but now calls Naples home. Two things helped Allegra to reconnect with her roots and fall back in love with “her” Italy: her new Italian partner, Roberto Mottola di Amato; and the most seductive, colourful, and notoriously ungovernable city of southern Italy, where danger and decadence have always coexisted, Naples. Certainly, Allegra seems to have experienced some sort of creative rebirth since ending her marriage with Ashley Hicks, furniture designer, son of interior designer David, and grandson of Earl Mountbatten.



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Her latest vibrant collection of rugs and textiles, entitled “Elements”, which debuted at this year Salone del Mobile in Milan is as joyful as her name implies and includes chain-stitched embroideries, an ancient craft which originated in Kashmir; hand-knotted carpets manufactured in India; and flat weaves which employ vegetable-dyed wool, handmade in Anatolia. Maybe the fire of Vesuvius Volcano and the picturesque streets of Naples have boosted her imagination and inspired her to look beyond the intellectual and embrace her creative side. Friends of hers who had the chance to take a sneak-peek of her latest abode in Naples were absolutely mesmerised by her newest sparkling piece of art - it is said that she has decorated her bedroom with huge panels of raw silk embroidered with a spectacular drawing of Naples Bay.

But how does she express her Italian side in her everyday life? “I think the greatest expression of my Italian roots is my approach to family and extended family,”

But how does she express her Italian side in her everyday life? “I think the greatest expression of my Italian roots is my approach to family and extended family,” says Hicks. “My house has an open door policy for family and friends and our dinner table can go from 4 to 10 people in a matter of moments! We have a relaxed approached to invitations and like to create a welcoming atmosphere of ease.” Perhaps dating such a lively Neapolitan might have helped to change her perspective in life. Going by this we expect further fantastic eruptions from Allegra Hicks in the near future.