I have had the pleasure of working with Hutton Wilkinson when he launched his first book written with Wendy Goodman, TONY DUQUETTE, followed by MORE IS MORE and TONY DUQUETTE AND HUTTON WILKINSON JEWELRY and when he presented his extraordinary fine jewelry collection at Saks Fifth Avenue, Chicago on several occasions…just gorgeous. “Discovered” by the legendary Elsie de Wolfe, Tony brought his distinctive dramatic style to the world of theater and modern interiors. (An aside, Hutton has also written a book, in two volumes, on these two totally different personalities, THE WALK TO ELSIE’S, and a children’s book,  GASPER BROWN AND THE MYSTERY OF THE GASPARILLA  SUCESSION.) The Duquette books have brought the genius of Tony Duquette to the public many of whom really only knew of his unique creativity through his stage and screen sets and costumes, as well as ballets and operas.  I fell for his sketches (aspire to own one!) years and years ago (Hutton, a book of Tony’s Sketches please!!!!!!)

From Kismet, the film, I recently saw this, hadn’t seen it in years (I’ve always adored Howard Keel’s voice), a fun campy film, but totally worth a viewing for the sets and costumes, oh my!!!!

From the film, Lovely To Look At….8800395E-2E4E-4095-8FFA-9EE86BAE393E

And a sketch for the Broadway production of Camelot….another piece of heaven…1F4ADCF4-12D5-4932-A256-14EBEEC43C37

To see this iconic man’s vision through the eyes of the man who worked with him, is maintaining his legacy and continues to honor the Duquette culture by restoring and “modernizing” his home DAWNRIDGE.  We must applaud Hutton for continuing the mystic of this unique creator. NEWS FLASH, HUTTON WILL BE WITH US, IN CONVERSATION, EARLY 2019, FOR nenasnotes THE FASHION BOOK CLUB TO DISCUSS DAWRIDGE AND WILL DO THE PROFILE QUESTIONNAIRE FOR THIS BLOG….I AM BEYOND, JUST BEYOND THRILLED!!!!!  You will immediately love his stories and enjoy sharing his brilliance!  You can tell I’m a HUGE fan!


Tony Duquette with Hutton Wilkinson, his protégé, collaborator and now the keeper of the Tony Duquette legacy.

Now on to the book….in my opinion it is the most intimate and personal of the three “lifestyle” books, it features photos from the original homes and new photography by Tim Street-Porter of the restored/redone breathtakingly beautiful house(s) and grounds.  Hamish Bowles does the brilliant forward (himself, a busy Icon, (my favorite fashion/lifestyle guru), with all the book “forwards” he has done along with his position as International Editor-At-Large for Vogue and his own publications, does he sleep?  I wonder, would he do mine, when my book comes to fruition….just saying!!!)

Here is a quote of  part of a paragraph from Hamish (I had the joy of being “in conversation” with him for the Costume Council of The Chicago History Museum several years ago, a major thrill and true honor!) From the forward a quote talking about another idol of mine the superb designer Gilbert Adrian, in my opinion, the best of the Golden Age of Hollywood designers, Adrian also brought his talents to department stores across the country as well as his own salon…

“‘Amaze me!’ was Adrian’s injunction to Duquette, and the young artist obliged with decors for the designer’s salon and fashion shows of eclipsing fantasy and charm. Duquette was made for Tinseltown, the land of illusion, and for the director Vincente Minnelli he created movie decors as fanciful as the homes he invented for himself and his wife, the ethereal artist Elizabeth Johnstone.”

Imsges of the Duquette interiors for Adrian’s Salon (not from the book found on Pinterest credit unknown).

And from Hutton these two quotes from page 13 (by coincidence, my lucky number!)

“Before he died, (in 1999) I promised Tony that I’d try to save Dawnridge.”

“It has been our pleasure (Hutton and his wife, Ruth) to save the life of this fabled house and to continue the tradition of creative hospitality that Dawnridge is known for.  As Tony would say ‘We do these things for our pleasure, and hopefully, to inspire individuality and creativity in others through the art of living and the living arts’.  Dawnridge is a living house, constantly changing and evolving.  It is the dearest hope of mine and my wife Ruth’s—and hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul—that Dawnridge will continue to inspire, enchant, and inform for generations to come.”  Hutton, exquisitely stated!

The beginning of the book gives us a detailed understanding of Tony’s life, and, of course how Hutton became his creative partner.  The book is then organized by the three main houses and the elaborate grounds. Hutton takes us through the painstaking process of repurchasing many of the “lost” treasures of the home, the detailed drama of “reinventing” the original concept and not only enhancing it but bringing the dream into the reality of the 21st Century with its modern technology while keeping the essence and tradition of the original rooms, buildings and grounds in their transformations. I would go so far as to say an exquisite Phoenix has risen from the “ashes”.

Some photos from the book….taken from Pinterest.  I could live in any of the spaces since my motto is definitely more is more and my most favorite color is green, let alone all the Malachite, and the chandeliers, and the layering, and…………totally dreamy!  B54760E9-19C3-4156-B2EB-64754280B4E1





A perfect choice for your gift giving and for yourself, of course, this Holiday season….remember to patronize your local Independent Bookseller, mine is The Book Stall

This post is underwritten by an unanimous sponsor.  Contact me for details for nenasnotes sponsorship opportunities,


  1. Marcia December 10, 2018 / 11:14 am

    Fabulous, looks like a beautiful book and interesting lecture.

    • nenasnotes December 10, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      It is a stunner and Hutton is amazing. I’ll let you know when he is scheduled for nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club.

    • nenasnotes December 10, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      Thank you….the book and the story of Dawnridge are extraordinary.

  2. HUTTON WILKINSON December 14, 2018 / 5:33 am

    Dear Nena… I can’t thank you enough for your very kind words and wonderful reportage of “Tony Duquette’s Dawnridge” on your fabulous blog!!! Can’t wait to see you again… hopefully right here at Dawnridge… and looking forward to conversing with you for The Fashion Book Club!!!! Love… Hutton

    • nenasnotes December 17, 2018 / 10:06 pm

      Totally my pleasure Hutton. You know I am a HUGE fan! Can’t wait for our nenasnotes The Fashion Book Club discussion in January. Hugs….

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