The Style Files: Hutton Wilkinson

Hutton Wilkinson was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in the architectural offices of his father and grandfather. A the age of eighteen he had the opportunity to apprentice under the great American design icon, Tony Duquette. Wilkinson worked for Duquette as a volunteer apprentice for two years and then as a paid assistant designer for three years before starting his own interior design firm. While self-employed Wilkinson continued his professional association with Tony Duquette collaborating in partnership with the great designer on a myriad of projects over the next twenty-five years. After the passing of Mr. Duquette in September of 1999, Wilkinson as owner, creative director and president of Tony Duquette Inc. continues to design and market his one of a kind designs for fine jewelry also textiles for Jim Thompson Thai Silk, custom lighting products for Remains Lighting, carpets for Patterson, Flynn and Martin, furniture and accessories for Maitland-Smith, upholstery for Pearson as well as tabletop accessories for Mottahedeh and interior decorations under the registered international trademark, “Tony Duquette” and Tony Duquette Inc.  In 2007, Wilkinson wrote the first of several beautiful coffee table tomes including Tony Duquette and More is More: Tony Duquette. His latetst book, Dawnridge was released this past fall by Abrams. Wilkinson is a wonderful champion of the glamour and more is more style of Hollywood’s Golden Era as well as the steward of Tony Duquette’s fabled Dawnridge Estate. I can speak from experience that an invitation to Dawnridge feels like a right of passage in the design world. It is glorious and unlike anyplace else!

Paloma Contreras: How would you describe your style?

Hutton Wilkinson: Drunk and disorderly

PC: How has living in New York City influenced your aesthetic?

HW: I live in Beverly Hills and my aesthetic is entirely influenced by old black and white movies– technicolor– Tony Duquette and the Golden Age of Hollywood.

PC: What does your home say about you?

HW: Too much! It is me…if those walls could talk… they would scream!

PC: Where do you turn for inspiration?

HW: Travel…the minute my feet hit foreign soil– I am transported and I everything I see gets reworked in hopes of using some element on a job or better yet, at home.

PC: Who are your personal style icons?

HW: Tony Duquette, Billy Haines, Elsie de Wolfe, Syrie Maugham, and the great amateur designers and and arbiter of tastes, Carlos de Beisteigui and Jose Maria Sert.

{A Glamorous Room by Elsie de Wolf}

PC: What trait do you most admire in a person?

HW: Success!

{Decorative Pieces from the new Tony Duquette Furniture Collection for Maitland Smith}

PC: What is your guilty pleasure?

HW: Breakfast in Bed

PC: Who/what has been your greatest professional influence?

HW: Tony Duquette and those who taught him, Billy Haines, Elsie de Wolfe, Vicente Minnelli

{Photography by Nicole Lamotte for One Kings Lane}

PC: What is your idea of living “la dolce vita”?

HW: Having the means to satisfy the needs of my imagination– that should do it.


PC: What can we look forward to next from you?

HW: Expanding my carpet collection with Patterson Flynn Martin and using those designs to set off my new Tony Duquette Furniture Collection for Maitland Smith along with my Tony Duquette lighting designs for Remains Lighting. I’m working on a new 36-story hotel in Bangkok, Thailand as well as a 40th floor penthouse in Bangkok for another client. Although I didn’t know I could read, let alone write, I like to write books! My newest book, Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge with photography by Tim Street-Porter has just been published by Abrams and my three volumes of my seven volume Gaspar Brown, Adventure Series are available now. The remaining four of the series to be released in sequence, month by month.

Go-To Outfit: My $25.00 black or blue cotton Chinese coats with white cuffs which I buy by the dozen in chinatown which I wear like a lab coat everyday.

Style Mantra: “If it’s not fabulous, it’s meaningless!”

Scent: Anything from Penhaligon’s “Portraits, The Tragedy of Lord George”

Piece of Jewelry: I always wear cufflinks. I have a large and always growing collection which I design myself. My best pair and most favorite to date are carved emerald and diamond although I often like to wear the giant south sea pearl cufflinks I received from Tony Duquette which he wore constantly and also designed for himself.

Color I Never Tire Of: Coral and emerald green

Flower: Dahlia

Indispensable Design Element: Leopard and mirrors and custom made carpets by Patterson Flynn Martin

Era for Design: The Golden Age of Hollywood and the new maximalist epoch decorating which we are entering right this minute

Dream Project: To work for one client exclusively

Fabric/Textile: Anything Tony Duquette for Jim Thompson

Hostess Gift: Books, flowers, or jewelry

Meal: Dover Sole– I call it “food made for God to eat”.

Drink: Water, but champagne will do in a pinch!

Way to Unwind after a Long Day at Work: Watch old movies, write, take a bath while doing one of the other of these.

 3 Things I Love About My City: My house and garden, getting out of it to travel and work, and Los Angeles’s storied past, not its future

Weekend Destination: My beach shack on the Atlantic

Hotel: The Lake Palace in Udaipur

City: Venice, Italy

Museum: The Gulbenkian in Lisbon

Artist: Turner

Song that Always Puts Me in a Great Mood: Anything with the word “money” in it or the word “dance”

Actor/Actress: Carey Grant/Greta Garbo

Prized Possession: Dawnridge, Tony Duquette’s house in Beverly Hills– and my Tibetan goats

Risk Worth Taking: Waking up in the morning

Greatest Extravagance: Parties, parties, parties!


Rule to Break: All of them– at least once!

Movie Set Design: “Mandalay”, the Max De Winters house in the film “Rebecca”; also the Enright House in “The Fountainhead”.

I can never have too many… Books, Chinese carvings, or jewels

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