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October 2018- Dallas

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49 L ike Rumpelstiltskin spinning straw into gold, designer Tony Duquette conjured beauty from the banal. Everything he touched was infused with his singular magic: A silver hubcap was the gleaming centerpiece for an improvised sunburst, a lemon juicer became a finial for a lamp, and plastic fast-food baskets were fashioned into folding screens. He was a trompe l'oeil genius who created the look of antique mirrored walls from the pressed foil of Chinese takeout containers. Upon closer inspection, malachite, lapis, tooled leather, and jaguar pelts turn out to be paint, paper, cloth, and canvas. Nowhere is Duquette's sleight of hand more celebrated than at Dawnridge, the fabled folly he built 69 years ago for his bride, artist Elizabeth "Beegle" Duquette. Nestled in the cleft of a rocky ledge high above Beverly Hills, Dawnridge was built in 1949 to Tony's specifications by architect Caspar Ehmcke. The original 30' by 30' house was divided into a series of three rooms in front and a main, double-height drawing room with a staircase in back. Small and elegant, Dawnridge was called the grandest house in Beverly Hills at the time, and when Tony's society friends saw it, they all wanted one, too — only bigger. Tony and Beegle christened their new home with a spectacular bal de derrière, or bustle ball, at which women wore gowns with bustles and servants dressed in 18th- century livery. Hollywood legends turned out, including Fred Astaire, Mary Pickford, Buddy Rogers, and Loretta Young. For a year, the house played host to an endless number of over-the-top dinner parties, with exotic entertainment by troupes of Chinese acrobats, Balinese dancers, and balalaika orchestras. Dawnridge was the perfect backdrop to the Duquettes' opulent entertaining style. Though dazzling, "it was really just a beautiful stage set held together with tape and glue," says Hutton Wilkinson, Tony's longtime collaborator, who acquired Dawnridge after the designer's death in 1999. After all, Tony designed lavish film sets for director Vincente Minnelli and costumes and stage sets for the ballet and Broadway — he won a Tony Award for best costume design for Camelot. In his lifetime, Tony designed bold jewelry for the Duchess of Windsor, Tom Ford, and Oscar de la Renta. He created equally bold interiors for his early mentor Elsie de Wolfe, William Haines, J. Paul Getty, David O. Selznick, and Doris Duke, among a slew of other notables. Still, he was at his most uninhibited at Dawnridge. Rooms brim with his fanciful bejeweled sculptures and trompe l'oeil. They teem with exquisite chinoiserie, ancient sculptures of Indian deities, crystal chandeliers, and centuries' worth of European antiques. Animal prints, red coral, gilt, minerals, and taxidermy abound. It wasn't enough to encase a stuffed Opposite: In the entrance hall of Dawnridge, with 17th-century carved door surrounds, Moschino wool striped sweater $895, and pant $1,195, at, Bottega Veneta Hibiscus silk-velvet dress $5,200, and belt $760, at the Bottega Veneta boutique, Neiman Marcus,,, Designer Tony Duquette lived life to the hilt, putting his lavish, over-the-top spin on interiors, costumes, stage settings, and jewelry for a glittering orbit of admirers that included Hollywood stars and European aristocracy. Nowhere was Duquette more at home than at Dawnridge, his fabled folly overlooking Beverly Hills. Duquette's protégé and business partner, Hutton Wilkinson, the wildly talented keeper of the flame, launches his new book, Tony Duquette's Dawnridge (Abrams), this month. For these pages, PaperCity visits the extraordinary Dawnridge environs with trunks of fall confections and a trove of Tony Duquette jewels. Hutton Wilkinson, photographed July 5, 2018, Beverly Hills (continued)

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