Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hutton Wilkinson: More is More Tony Duquette

Become a subscriber and a follower by April 10th for a chance to win a signed copy.

Last year, my middle daughter and I were lucky enough to be included in a dinner party with Ruthie and Hutton Wilkinson, at Dawnridge, Tony and Beegel’s (Elizabeth) iconic home in Beverly Hills.  It is the definitive, jaw dropping creation of all time, mixing disparate materials, from high to low, in such complete harmony, it is impossible for me to conceive or describe how and why such magic emerges. John Galliano describes it, in his forward, as: “Hollywood, Narnia, and Oz combined—bewitching, intoxicating and utterly ahead of its time.”

Tony Duquette displayed an astonishing depth in multiple genres-- costume design (Tony Award), jewelry design (Duchess of Windsor), interior design, furniture design, painting, sculpture and set design. The French gave him the first solo American exhibit at the Louvre, for his mid-century aesthetic, which was neo baroque, rather than the spare international modernism, prevailing at the time.

Model for a pair of French ballet costumes, his own vision for two encrusted under-sea courtiers
From his exhibit at the Louvre in 1951

To say Tony was prolific is an understatement. Considering how much of his work survives is a testimony, to what could have only been intense productivity. Years ago, I naively asked my Aunts who Tony Duquette was, and they would uniformly say: “He does a lot of artistic things, and he has had terrible luck with fires.” However, even the fires moved his creation, and the spectacular phoenix motif sculptures and decorations, contribute greatly to his oeuvre. Hutton observed humorously, regarding Tony’s excessive nature, that: “He was the only man that could spend $999 in a .99 cent store.”

The Tony Duquette collection found at Saks Fifth Avenue and on 1st dibs, is one of a kind, fantabulous "art jewelry", seen on the couture runways, and red carpets. It is so breathtakingly beautiful, I am guilty of rotating various pieces  on my screen saver. See below, and you'll get it:

Ruby, Sapphire, Diamond, Emerald and Pearl in 18K Gold, $126,000

So, get those fingers typing and buy Hutton’s latest book on Tony, or enter our contest, to win a signed copy, by becoming followers and subscribers to our new blog. The great news is that Hutton is finally selling faux versions of his stylish jewelry on the Home Shopping Network.  We are already piling them on! 

HSN Hutton Wilkinson $69.95

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