With minimal styling and ocean views from every room, Lucy’s home is a true extension of her fashion sense.
Inside DISSH Director Lucy Henry-Hicks’ Monochromatic Gold Coast Home
With minimal styling and ocean views from every room, Lucy’s home is a true extension of her fashion sense.
Welcome to The Makers. Each week, we’re celebrating innovators, artisans, and crafters of all types, taking you on a private tour of their creative spaces. For this installment, we tour the Gold Coast home of fashion label DISSH's managing director, Lucy Henry-Hicks.
As the owner and managing director of one of Australia’s leading fashion brands, DISSH, Lucy Henry-Hicks knows how to build an ensemble. And this ability has extended to styling the interiors of her chic coastal home on the Gold Coast. After all, designing an outfit has many similarities to designing a house interior – they both centre around having an eye and understanding of combining colours, patterns, textures, and shapes.
Lucy comes from a family of fashion retailers and has been in the business since a young age. They built the brand together and opened their doors to the first DISSH store on the Gold Coast in 2001. Since then, the label has expanded with over 200 staff members and Lucy has become the sole owner and creative director.
Travel is a big part of the initial inspiration phase for the brand's designs. "...we visit places like London, LA, NYC, Greece and Spain to see what the cool girls are wearing on the street," she shares with Bed Threads Journal. The result? Four seasonal collections a year of elevated basics underpinned by an effortless sense of cool.
Central to the brand's ethos is women's empowerment. "I’m a big believer that empowered women, empower women so if I, through DISSH and the community we have built around the brand, can make a difference in the lives of other women, to provide support systems that allow them to make choices that are not only good for the family unit but also aligned with what makes them happy, then I’ve done my job." They partner with charities like Suited To Success, whose mission is to support women getting back on their feet after they have experienced personal hardship.
In the same vein as the clothing brand she manages, there is a thread of elegant understatement woven throughout her coastal abode. The soothing neutral palette that prevails within and the calming ocean outlook, make it the ideal base to recharge her creative energy. "I love mixing high-end and coastal finishes together to create an overall chic but effortless vibe," she shares.
The open-plan kitchen, living, and dining area embraces a variety of textures and layers to create interest – a must when creating a welcoming space with a dialled-down palette. Lucy has achieved this with boucle dining chairs, woven rope lounge chairs, a toffee-toned marble coffee table, a woven rug, and timber finishes for a relaxed feel.
Art is also paramount to the success of this home's aesthetic and adds a gallery-like quality to the space. "I usually opt for neutrals in furniture, so I find the art is really important to bring colour and life into the space."
The primary bedroom is chic and minimal as to not detract from the spectacular ocean views. Crisp white linen sheets suit the space perfectly and keep it looking clean and pared-back.
Below, take a tour of Lucy's chic coastal home and read about the brand's creative process, how they are striving to empower women, and the styling details within her home.
Hi Lucy! This series is called The Makers. What is it that you make?
Hi! Thank you for inviting me to share with you. My team and I design women’s fashion clothing.
How does the act of “making” relate to your personality and who you are?
I love to create – it’s in my DNA and I would go as far as to say that it is my purpose here in this life. Whether it be designing a dress, a physical store, building a marketing campaign, or a table setting – I’m in love with the process of taking something from concept to reality.
Tell us about your career journey to date. Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
Yes and no. My parents were both in the industry so naturally, it was what I was surrounded by my whole life. Straight after high school, I went to work with them without really questioning it. I was in my late 20s when I stopped and really evaluated – is this what I want to do? Or am I doing this because this is all I’ve really known? That was a really important time for me to get clear on what was right for me and what lights me up. I landed myself back here – I really do love it for so many reasons. As I get further into my journey, I’m really focused on spending my time on the things that bring me joy and play to my strengths, then building a team around me to manage the rest. Naturally, at the start you have to wear many hats, from designing product to managing the P&L – it’s equal parts creative as it is analytical and there is fun in that too, but I’m really enjoying the stage I’m in now where I can be more choosy.
How do you create a collection? What is your creative process?
Travel is a big part of the initial inspiration phase – we visit places like London, LA, NYC, Greece and Spain to see what the cool girls are wearing on the street. It’s amazing how many new ideas can come from an hour in Soho, New York sitting at a coffee shop watching people walk by. From there, when we get home, we start to build. We build our collections by quarters (3-month) blocks – these align with the seasons. We set a trend direction, overall vibe, muse, and colour palette.
From there we build our core fabrications, prints and the materials that we want to work into, and then we start concepting silhouettes. The silhouettes or shapes come from a mixture of existing styles or new sketches – at this part of the process, there is usually a lot of cutting, measuring, and pinning on our fit models. From there we brief in our factories in the form of tech packs and sample comments and away it goes to the sampling phase and the concept or idea is born into a physical garment.
What’s been the single most crucial tool or strategy you’ve used to further your career?
Prioritising my own personal development, getting to know myself, and building a strong mindset. A high level of EQ and self-awareness are the single most important tools I utilise in my day-to-day leading and managing a team to deliver on my vision. Owning and running a business is not for the fainthearted. There are many ups and downs and twists and turns. A positive outlook and a growth mindset ensure you learn from your mistakes and get back up (quickly) when you fall.
What’s been the best thing that’s happened to you since you started your career?
That’s a hard question – there have been many exciting moments throughout the journey. I tend to be very forward-focused so I would probably answer by saying I hope the best is yet to come.
Do you have a single piece of advice you’d give to your younger self or someone hoping to make it in the fashion world?
There are few roles where you need formal qualifications like university degrees. Yes, it’s helpful, but I wouldn’t say necessary. Experience counts for much more, so get as much of it as you possibly can. Internships are great for that and something that most brands offer for people looking to get their foot in the door. At the end of the day, again, I really think it comes down to having the right attitude, a willingness to work hard, and the ability to stay focused. We (and most other workplaces) are willing to teach the skills if you demonstrate that you’re open to learning.
Empowering women is central to DISSH’s ethos – Why is this important to you and how does your brand do this?
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where I was encouraged to go after what was in my heart and that I could have it all if I wanted it. My mum was a working mum and my mum and dad both equally took on the role of parenting and caregiving. The message was no different for me as it was for my brother – you can do and be whatever you want to be. I was so fortunate that this was the norm for me because as I got older, I realised this isn’t the case for everyone. Daily, I see my close friends, extended family members and colleagues struggle in traditionally patriarchal relationships where women are expected to give up careers to raise children because financially it doesn’t stack for them to return to a job they love, or because it’s inconvenient for the family. I’m a big believer that empowered women, empower women so if I, through DISSH and the community we have built around the brand, can make a difference in the lives of other women, to provide support systems that allow them to make choices that are not only good for the family unit but also aligned with what makes them happy, then I’ve done my job. It’s not about working or not working and one being better than the other, it’s really just about women having the ability to choose what is right for them and their families, rather than being pushed into a life because circumstances decided it for them.
Every person coming into DISSH as a full-time employee participates in Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead program. This is centred around developing EQ and building self-awareness. We pride ourselves on offering flexible return-to-work arrangements for working mums and are in the process of building a paid MAT leave policy to be rolled out in 2023. We work alongside brands like Alpha-H and Adore Beauty to offer placements like the Encoreship (this is an amazing program) and we partner with charities like Suited To Success, whose mission it is to support women get back on their feet after they have experienced personal hardship.
Now, the home stuff. How long have you lived in your home?
How did you initially know this was the space for you?
We split our time between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. This is our Gold Coast home in Palm Beach. We are in the process of a build in Brisbane. My husband is a builder so this process of designing and building homes is something we enjoy doing together.
It was all about location for us! We were looking for a place on the Gold Coast that was close to family (my parents live three doors down). Family is important to us and in our downtime that is usually whom we choose to spend our time with, so when we came across this space, we didn’t think twice.
Did you do any renovations or make any big changes after moving in?
We bought the home new and near completion so we couldn’t alter the layout, but we had some influence over the finishes.
What was the thought process behind the way you’ve styled the interior? Is there a crossover between your interior and fashion styles?
My colour palette is always neutral, and I opt for textures and layering to create interest. I love mixing high-end and coastal finishes together to create an overall chic but effortless vibe. There are certainly a lot of crossovers between the overall aesthetic and styling of our home and the DISSH brand and physical spaces (including our HQ and our stores).
What are your favourite pieces in the home?
I’m obsessed with our Rope Easy Lounge Chairs designed by Adrien Audoux and Frida Minet, and our couch from MCM House. It’s the centre point of the loungeroom and I love it. I spend a lot of time on that couch!
Do you have any special décor pieces you’re looking to add?
We are currently on the hunt for some more artwork to finish off the space. I usually opt for neutrals in furniture, so I find the art is really important to bring colour and life into the space.
Which is your favourite room in the house?
The living room. I love nothing more than reading a book on the couch on a Saturday when I get some downtime.
What are your top tips for a well-styled bedroom, and home generally?
Don’t try to buy everything at once, it takes time to build a well-considered space. As tempting as it is (well for me anyway – I always want to have everything looking perfect as soon as I can). Go slow and build layer by layer. Find your big pieces – couch, bed, dining table etc – lock those in and then build around those pieces.
Do you have any projects coming up you want to talk about?
We are rolling out a number of new physical stores at the moment which is really exciting. I love the creative process of designing spaces that reflect our brand DNA but also create a space to connect with our customers. This really fills my cup! Chadstone in VIC opened doors this week and Hastings St, Noosa opens next week. Just in time for the summer season.
On the personal side of things, my husband and I are halfway through a new build for our home in Brisbane. It’s been a slow, drawn-out process due to covid, but we are only months away from completion which is so exciting. The fun starts now with furnishing and styling. But really the biggest project of all is learning how to be the best mum I can be for our little girl Remi, who joined us earthside this August. Learning how to balance work and motherhood has been nothing short of the hardest, but the most rewarding chapter of life so far. I still have my training wheels on but we are getting closer to finding our new normal.