The story behind the opulent location for our AW17 shoot
When deciding where to shoot the Autumn-Winter 2017 collection, the baroque fantasy of the Tony Duquette Dawnridge estate in Los Angeles was Talitha’s perfect location. Here, we reveal why Talitha loves the flamboyant American design icon’s bohemian vision
Unless you’re a trivia fan of the 1946 Hollywood classic The Zigfield Follies or remember Gucci and Balmain’s more-is-more jewellery collections from the late 1990s and early 2000s (or more recently, the nouveau-luxe backdrop of the Gucci menswewar Cruise 2017 campaign), Tony Duquette may have passed you by. Whimsical set designer, eccentric artist and sculptor, interiors maestro and weaver of dreams, Duquette epitomised the glamour, extravagance and ostentation of the golden age of Hollywood.
Born in 1914, Duquette studied art before being discovered in 1941 by Elsie de Wolfe, an influential actress and interior designer. De Wolfe first spotted his work at a Hollywood dinner party, where the then septuagenarian fell in love with an overblown plaster-and-faux gem table centrepiece Duquette had created. Impressed by the 27-year-old designer’s style, de Wolfe hired him to decorate her Beverly Hills home and with her stamp of approval, Duquette’s career was born.
“If I could swap places with anyone it would be with the dashing Tony Duquette,” says John Galliano in the book More Is More. “We shared a mutual love of beauty and creating dreams… My dear friend Dodie Rosencrans arranged for us to visit his estate, Dawnridge, and I remember the experience well. We dined, explored every corner and stayed up all night talking about him and his home, which was out of this world… I was enchanted.”
Indeed, it is because of Hollywood socialite Dodie Rosencrans that Talitha has a special connection with Duquette. “I’d always known of Tony Duquette because he was in the same social set as my grandmother,” says Talitha co-founder Kim Hersov. “He had decorated her friend Dodie Rosencrans’s palazzo in Venice, Italy, and I remember that my grandmother went there to see it. His work in Hollywood on film sets and also designing costumes meant he was well known in California as an eccentric, brilliant decorator who also created fabrics and I actually have some in my own home.”
When thinking of where to shoot the AW17 collection, the bohemian style of Tony Duquette’s estate was an obvious choice. “The colours, textures and opulence of the interiors marry perfectly with the collection,” says Kim. “We were thrilled with the shoot.”