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Tony Duquette Hardcover – December 1, 2007
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About the Author
Wendy Goodman is the Interior Design Editor of New York magazine, the Contributing Style Editor of Departures magazine, and a Contributing Editor at Elle Décor. She lives in New York City.
Jewelry and interior designer Hutton Wilkinson is President of Tony Duquette, Inc. Wilkinson began working for Duquette while still a teenager. He is also president of the Elsie DeWolfe Foundation.
Dominick Dunne is an author and contributing editor for Vanity Fair.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Tony Duquette" is organized into eight chapters. The first four flow chronologically, covering his childhood and youth; the early social and professional connections that paved the path to prominence; the role of the beautiful Elizabeth "Beegle" Duquette as wife, muse, and collaborator; and the year (1950-1951) that the couple spent in Paris. The second quartet of chapters focuses on Duquette's work. First comes a look at his contributions to film and the stage and then his interior designs for others. Chapter Seven, the most visually spectacular in the book and perhaps most recognizable, showcases the exotic living environments that Duquette created for himself and Elizabeth. These sites, three in southern California and one in San Francicso, showcase his signature love of a highly layered look that drew inspiration from foreign cultures and employed spectacular antiques and many faux finishes. Where the acreage was available, Duquette's residences also included multiple "dream houses" which most resemble a fantasist's interpretation of Balinese temples. Chapter Eight, titled "The Do-it-Yourself de Medici," looks at Duquette as artisan, working with both mundane and precious materials to create fabulous jewels, accessories, and pieces of furniture, among other things.
Quite possibly Duquette's love of the exotic, of over-the-top decorating, and of formal entertaining will appeal to just a fraction of design aficionados and seem irrelevant in a modern world that moves at a faster pace, has a more fluid social structure, and has abandoned many of the social niceties so important to Duquette. Still, I am betting that a sense of wonder and fantasy is hard-wired into most of us, as our enthusiastic reaction to fantastical Christmas window displays, theatrical sets, and movie special effects suggests. And if this is not enough to draw you to this beautiful book, then glimpses of the three main environments in which Duquette operated--old Hollywood, San Francisco, and a Paris just recovering from the ravages of World War II-- should alone justify picking it up. Do I have any reservations about "Tony Duquette"? Just one. The text whetted my taste for more details and insights, and I would have loved to have seen a historian join the authors' team to expand in particular the contextual descriptions of the mid-20th century social and artistic scene in both America and France.
So this huge volume on Tony Duquette is like fresh water being thrown onto a desert. It is excellent in all respects. It is a coffee table book you actually want to read. It offers biography, film history, Hollywood history, art & furniture history, fashion, travel, manners and social behavior, a glimpse of a major part of the 20th century that spanned Tony's (and his wife Elizabeth's) long and productive life. The book is gorgeous to look at, and wonderful to hold.
I would like more, maybe another book about the behind-the-scenes process, and the craftsmen and women who made Tony Duquette's visions into reality. I would like a book about his wife's Beegle's (Elizabeth's) paintings.
I would like a book about Tony and Elizabeth as a couple, and their long marriage of 46 years.
The optimistic thing is that if you have imagination you can consider the example of the Duquettes, and the possibilty of going to the 99 cents store, or the dump of cast offs, to make something wonderful. The Duquettes were "green" way before their time. Granted they also shopped the antiques markets of the world, but they collected their treasures in the most refreshing and unilateral way.
The magic of Tony and Beegle was that their lives were fully lived, experienced, and realized.
Get (and give) this joyful book and be enchanted, inspired, and filled with the gift of possibilities.
Very well done and thoroughly researched. Great quality photos.