Tony Duquette ~ More Is More

"Beauty, not luxury is what I value"

More is More was the fantastical, iconic, extravagant Tony Duquette motto and book title.  The set, jewelry and fashion designer as well as all around bon vivant who died in 1999 left a treasure trove of riches in the trusty hands of his protege and partner Hutton Wilkinson, with Tony since 1972, who himself has a fascinating background.  As the creative director and CEO of Tony Duquette Inc., Hutton has kept the dream alive and flourishing.

Images from the book More is More, Courtesy of Abrams

Tony established himself as one of the leading designers in LA, and later worldwide.  He was the only American designer to garner a one-man show at The Louvre.  He and his wife opened a studio in West Hollywood where Tony and Beegle (his wife's nickname) threw elaborate costumed parties and decorated to the nines.  

You know you're about to enter a very special place with an entrance like this:  "The Empire", Tony's Malibu home that burnt to the ground in the 1990's

Everything was an illusion and a study in layering, and Tony was a master at it!   The Tea House was no exception, with the handmade pagoda-like chandelier and silk blankets between the red ceiling beams to resemble tiles.

Welcome to "Dawnridge", Tony and Beegle's beloved home, built in 1949.  Hutton and his wife Ruth  now reside there and have made it their own.

This drawing room was redecorated in 2000 by Hutton and Ruth as much for themselves as well as a tribute to their dear friends.

Hutton bought back the chandeliers that Tony installed in a bridal salon at Buffums Department Store in California when it went out of business and had them installed in his living room.

No room went "under decorated"

A  stuffed alligator from New Guinea watches over company in the guestroom at Dawnridge, decorated in the '80's.  Its tea paper ceiling and coromandel screens keep it timeless.

There's a lot to study in the study.

Houses were decorated, events were orchestrated, outfits were coordinated.  I don't know where he/they found the time!

The Brandolino Palazzo in Venice

In Dodie Rosenkrans' Paris apartment, long banquettes covered in moss velvet are complemented by a pair of 18th century Venetian armchairs with a red lacquer finish. Tony Duquette's lighted sculpture "Phoenix Rising" has a place of prominence in the corner. Duquette and Wilkinson paneled the walls with antique Moghul embroideries set with precious and semiprecious stones. The designers were able to mix contrasting colors such as red and green with confidence, adding accent pillows in violet and animal prints that made the room even more sumptuous.
 Socialite Dodie Rosenkrans' Paris apartment

I am thrilled we can all have a little piece of Tony Duquette, Inc.  Hutton has licensed products thru a number of fine companies, so we can experience the "more is more" lifestyle.  Even if we have to edit, ALOT!

Furniture Through Baker.  I have been dying to use the biomorphic table somewhere

Sumptuous silks so saturated with color and bold design; fabrics through Jim Thompson.  That malachite fabric is too die for and many a decorator's dream.

Lighting through Remains Lighting and carpets through Roubini Rugs.
Tony was a big fan of Abolone shells and malachite and gold and starbursts and coral and color and animal prints get the picture.

Now comes a jewelry collection through Coach.  It is a magnificent tightly edited and in some cases limited edition collection based on Tony's precious jewelry designs.  Tony was way ahead of his time.  Any number of these pieces look like they were designed for today.

$125,000.00 on 1st Dibs or  Coach's version for $498.00 ~ you decide.

Reed Krakoff  was a huge fan of Tony Duquette's and bought many pieces that came up for sale at an estate auction thru Christie's.  Reed( and his wife) have impeccable taste!  The Coach team did a remarkable job sifting thru everything at Dawnridge:  jewelry, old news articles; they studied his interiors, and even his wife's paintings in an effort to create a realistically stylized collection that any minimalist OR maximalist would die over.

Hutton is hoping to inspire a new generation of fans.  He has more pieces waiting in the wings and I for one cannot wait to see what's next.  Sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more.  The genius is knowing which to apply when.

Thank you Hutton, the barer of the torch, for keeping the flame alive.  Oh, and next time you have a party ~ I'd love to attend!

Photo credits:( Eliot Elisofon Photography Collection/Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas, Austin ),( Fernando Bengoechea ), ( Tim Street-Porter ), Coach, Vanity Fair

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