PaperCity Magazine

October 2018- Dallas

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The chandelier in Dawnridge's Drawing Room was recreated after a 1974 fire, with Venetian-glass flowers in the shape of Pillemont lilies. Photographed by Tim Street-Porter. 53 cockatoo under glass; it had to sport a gilt Balinese headpiece and perch atop beautiful shells. "Tony's philosophy was 'more is more,'" Wilkinson says. For 30 years, the two traveled to the likes of Burma, Bali, and Thailand, bringing back treasures for clients who sought Tony's outsized design style. "It was all about layering," Wilkinson says. "You didn't just put paint on the walls; you put fabric over the paint, then you put a tapestry over that, and then you hung a painting in the middle. It was over-decorated to the hilt." Wilkinson, now CEO of Tony Duquette Studios, has published a new book about the storied house he knows so well. Tony Duquette's Dawnridge (Abrams) chronicles the estate's glamorous parties and many distinguished tenants, including Marlon Brando, who lived there in the 1950s while filming Julius Caesar. Over the decades, the property expanded into a lavish compound of houses and gardens, including Casa del Conde, a 1930s guesthouse with a dining room paneled in 18th-century French boiserie. A maximalist Mecca, Dawnridge inspired legions of design lovers and tastemakers. Diana Vreeland, Liza Minnelli, Miuccia Prada, Angela Missoni, James Galanos all were Dawnridge habitués. Tom Ford shot his lavish Gucci ads there, and the house was featured in ad campaigns for Bulgari. Dawnridge continues to capture our imagination, thanks in large part to Wilkinson, who has kept his mentor's legacy alive with Tony Duquette lighting, porcelains, fabrics, and furniture, including a collection for Maitland-Smith that debuts at High Point this month. Hutton and his wife, Ruth, live next door to Dawnridge at Casa la Condesa, a house they built in 2011. Dawnridge serves as the headquarters for the Tony Duquette design business, and the jewelry collection, which Hutton and Duquette launched in 1995. Fewer than 60 pieces are made each year, all with precious and semiprecious stones, many culled from a vast collection of gems Tony amassed as far back as 1947. Talk of jewels recalls one of Hutton's favorite stories, which reveals how his collaborator sought to elicit beauty from just about everything. "A client gave Tony a bag full of emeralds, and it just happened to be on the day Tony's gardener had killed a rattlesnake on his Malibu ranch," he tells me. "Tony had the gardener boil the snake and strip it down to its vertebrae. When he saw the amazing bleached bones, he started sticking the emeralds to it with wax," later setting the stones in 18K gold bezels. "It was one of the most beautiful necklaces I have ever seen." The client's daughter didn't share that sentiment, however and sold the bejeweled skeleton at a pawnshop for $600. Today, that original Duquette design could fetch tens of thousands of dollars. But, who knows? "We've been searching for that necklace ever since," Wilkinson says. T ony Duquette was just 27 years old when the jewel- encrusted plaster-and-glass centerpiece he created for a dinner party caught the attention of design sensation Elsie de Wolfe. It was 1941, and Wolfe had recently fled Nazi-occupied Paris for L.A. At the time, Duquette freelanced as an interior designer for William "Billy" Haines, who invited him to the party. Wolfe immediately took Duquette under her wing and hired him to decorate her new Beverly Hills house. The 85-year- old Wolfe, an English aristocrat-turned- interior designer, launched Duquette into a glamorous world of designing costumes and settings for MGM productions and interiors for Mary Pickford, and other Hollywood stars. After Paris was liberated in 1947, Wolfe — known in Europe as Lady Mendl — introduced him to her aristocratic set. Paris fell in love with his idiosyncratic style, and he was the first American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Louvre. One of Duquette's most memorable jewelry commissions was from the Duke of Windsor for the Duchess: a platinum necklace of wreaths and flowers studded with large citrines, peridots, and pearls. Duquette was already a legend in the world of design by the time 17-year-old Hutton Wilkinson began working for him in 1968. For the next three decades, Duquette and his protégé were inseparable. "We traveled everywhere together," says Wilkinson, "and we had so much fun, always laughing and laughing." Duquette amassed 10 houses later in life, many of which Wilkinson helped decorate. They (continued)

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