The book you will want to give any of your design-oriented friends this Holiday season is definitely “More is More: Tony Duquette,” written by L.A.-based interior and jewelry designer Hutton Wilkinson, the late Duquette’s collaborator. This gorgeous, oversized book, with an introduction by John Galliano, is a treasure trove of design inspiration and stories.
Vanity Fair recently featured some of Wilkinson’s personal recollections to go with photos that are featured in the book. About the photo shown above, he said:
“The last great job Tony and I did together was the interior of the Palazzo Brandolini for John and Dodie Rosekrans. Working in Venice was a dream come true. The biggest challenge was the day that the barges arrived at the palazzo, laden with all of the treasures that we had selected from the Rosekranses’ warehouses, as well as the pieces from our own warehouses, all of which we had sent over from America.
Word got out that a rich American was moving into a palazzo on the Grand Canal, and all of a sudden antique dealers starting arriving with their own things. They pushed our stuff out of the way and installed their own pieces. Dodie didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so she let them leave the stuff on memo.
Before the Rosekranses officially moved in, I called them and told them that I had put everything back exactly where Tony and I had planned to put them and that most of the ‘borrowed’ stuff had been removed. I told the Rosekranses, ‘You need to let us see it just once the way we designed it, and then if you want to move it all around and bring in all that other stuff, that is up to you!’ John and Dodie arrived the next day, liked what they saw, and never moved one object after that.”
And here are a few other stories from Wilkinson. For more, visit vanityfair.com.
“The Rosekrans’s Arabian Nights Ball was given at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum, in San Francisco [on August 16, 1996.] Alma Spreckles, John Rosekrans’s maternal grandmother, had built the museum and given it to the city of San Francisco after the first World War. The party that Tony and I designed for Dodie and John Rosekrans was in honor of their 18-year-old granddaughter, Jenica Rosekrans.
Of all the parties Tony and I designed together, this was indeed the most extravagant. The Rosekranses sent Tony and me around the world five times to amass the specially made decorations, which filled the glassed-in courtyard of the museum.
The greatest extravagance for this party was covering the glass pyramid in the center of the courtyard with a wooden stage, on top of which sat an Indian temple for Peter Duchin and his orchestra to play under.
This party was more of an extravaganza than the party we did in San Francisco for Daniel Steele, who asked us to re-create the snow scene from Doctor Zhivago by building a glass ballroom within the ballroom where dead tree branches had broken through the French windows and snow covered everything!”
“I always loved Tony and Beegle’s postage stamp-sized garden in San Francisco. Tony made a decorative screen across the back of the garden from discarded Victorian architectural elements that he picked off of demolition sites in the neighborhood. He paved the garden with old cobblestones torn up from San Francisco streets and planted it with succulents and bromeliads in variegated shades of green. It was a magical shady space to sit or dine in, or just to look out over from the upper floors of the birdcage Victorian house that he called ‘Cow Hollow.'”