“More is more” was the personal philosophy of Tony Duquette, the famous designer of furniture, jewelry, interiors and movie sets, known for his flair for exotic excess.
His client list reads like one big name check of Hollywood’s Golden Age. There was Vincente Minnelli, for whom Duquette worked on the set of “Ziegfeld Follies of 1944”; the Duchess of Windsor, who commissioned Duquette to design jewelry and Mary Pickford, Elizabeth Arden, Doris Duke and J. Paul Getty, all for whom Duquette dreamt up lavish decors. Then there were his own homes: Sortilegium, his Malibu ranch which he envisioned as a modern Shangri-la and was destroyed in a fire in 1993, and Dawnridge, the Beverly Hills villa that remains preserved, along with the rest of the estate, by Hutton Wilkinson, Duquette’s business partner of 30 years.
When Duquette died in 1999 at the age of 85, he left behind a visual legacy that remains a constant source of inspiration and marketing opportunities for interior designers, publishing houses, museum curators and occasionally American mega-brands like Coach, which has partnered with the Duquette estate for a limited edition jewelry collaboration — a first for Duquette — that will launch at retail in February. Tony Duquette for Coach captures the designer’s signature flamboyance and taste for all things over-the-top at less shocking prices — everything is under $500.
Coach has done a few collaborations over the years, most recently with Lutz & Patmos and Net-a-Porter, but the Duquette partnership is interesting because this is Coach’s biggest jewelry endeavor yet, and Duquette’s baroque aesthetic is a step away from Coach’s classic, all-American look. Reed Krakoff, Coach’s president and executive creative director, said casual talks about the project began a few years ago when he met Wilkinson in the Hamptons at one of his signings (Wilkinson has authored two books on Duquette, “Tony Duquette” and “More Is More”).
“I see Tony Duquette as an American master,” said Krakoff. “Pairing this great, iconic American jeweler with Coach made a lot of sense. It’s always interesting to see Coach through a different lens.”
As for the design process, Wilkinson said he introduced the Coach team “to every nook and cranny of Tony’s world — his archives, his personal collections, his and his wife’s personal jewelry and wardrobe, and then turned them loose to do their thing with no strings attached,” Wilkinson explained. “The results were amazing.”
The collection consists of roughly 20 pieces done in 18-karat gold-plated brass with Swarovski crystals, hand-cut glass and semi-precious stones, including amethyst, rock crystal, malachite and rose quartz. There are bangles with sunburst clasps, a floral cabochon ring, a colorful bib necklace inspired by a bauble Duquette made for the Duchess of Windsor, as well as bejeweled evening bags. Fish are a major motif, as Dawnridge’s grounds include a very active koi pond. “The jeweled fish, the yellow gold plating, the massing of cabochons and faceted stones, the overscaled rings all scream ‘Duquette,’” said Wilkinson. “And a satin clutch even can be used to decorate a table top, which is exactly how Tony liked to display his pieces.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast