Thursday, February 12, 2009
I spent most of the day at the World Market Center in Las Vegas looking for new trends and captivating new products. This seasons show was markedly toned down due to the economy but one standout was the Tozai Home showroom.
Dressed up in what I can only assume is an homage to designer Tony Duquette the showroom was a rich collage of color and texture highlighted by malachite wallpaper and faux coral everywhere.
Brightly colored pottery mixed with blue and white porcelain set the tone throughout the showroom.
A fabulous set of chairs covered in velvet leopard print where the focal point of the main window.
While Tozai does not carry any products designed by Duquette they are certainly in love with his aesthetic. They are the distributor on the West Coast for designer John Derian one of my fav's.
Here a table is set with one of Duquettes signature malachite patterned table cloths. His love of richly colored and textured surfaces prompted him to master the art of eclecticism. Mixing almost any material, pattern, period, etc. to great effect. His interiors where at once complicated yet at the same time comforting.
Over his long career he designed theatrical costumes, jewelry, movie sets, hotels and just about everything else you could think of. Here is a beautiful brooch he designed in his signature colors.
Duquettes own residence "Dawnridge" in Beverly Hills was a testament to style and dramatics. I've always loved this view looking down a long hallway to a somewhat satirical mural of a manservant at the end, ready to cater to the viewers every need. Fantasy seemed to be a way of life for the designer.
The design of his Malibu, California Ranch showed his deep love for Chinoiserie and high drama. Sadly it was destroyed by fire in 1993.
The recently released, self titled biography of Duquette, written by his long time creative partner Hutton Wilkinson, has been a rousing success. It's influence has been seen across the board in the design and retail marketplace with many a shop window styled to reflect his designs.
He says his objective in writing the book, which he also says was very difficult to get published due to an overall lack of interest by many publishing houses, was to chronicle the genius of his mentor and to show his talents to the world. While these kinds of books inspire many creative individuals and help to mold their own design signature, one famous design icon has taken it a bit too far. Apparently, Wilkinson is suing fashion designer Michael Kors for using Duqettes name and images from the book without permission to promote Kors new line of resort wear. It will be very interesting to see what the outcome of this lawsuit is.
I don't know the details but it is an age old question. Where does inspiration end and plagiarism begin?