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Tony Duquette lives on in new book, jewelry line

November 2, 2011 |  5:05 pm

TonybookcoverDespite fashion's recent flirtation with minimalism, over-the-top jewelry is not going anywhere. Which is why it is such a welcome time for Hutton Wilkinson's third book about his late business partner, Tony Duquette, a jewelry, furniture, interiors and Hollywood set designer whose personal motto was "more is more."

"Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry" (Abrams, $50) is a lavishly illustrated, jewel box of a tome, full of baroque-natural sparklers in coral, jade, turquoise, malachite, lapis lazuli, amber, shells and bone.

Included are pieces designed by Duquette, who died in 1999, and pieces by his protege and business partner of 30 years Wilkinson, who continues the legacy by designing his own one-of-a-kind pieces sold at speciality stores under the Tony Duquette name.

Duquette's client list reads like a who's who of fashion and style -- the Duchess of Windsor, Mary Pickford and Doris Duke. His lifestyle was also renowned. There were two estates -- the one in Malibu burned down, but Dawnridge in Beverly Hills has been maintained by Wilkinson -- with exotic gardens, furniture and art, and his legendary parties, where guests were required to dress to the nines. And Wilkinson has carried on the tradition so beautifully, it's no wonder Duquette continues to be a source of inspiration for designers, including Tom Ford and Michael Kors. 

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In the book's introduction, Glenda Bailey, editor in chief of Harpers Bazaar, writes, "Hutton has such an amazing imagination that everything he touches blossoms, quite literally in the case of his jewelry; necklaces grow sapphire leaves, with rays of sunlight glinting through in the form of citrines set in gold rays, brooches spread diamond-studded branches; and coral curls delicately into diamond earrings."

For his part, Wilkinson focuses on the ancient history and powers of the ununusual precious and semi-precious materials used in jewelry, highlighting his Pond Scum necklace made of malachite stalactite slices treated to look like pools of still water, a malachite and pearl insect brooch, and a blister pearl collar that looks like the most gorgeous necklace of clam shells. 

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"Duquette defines what it means to be over the top. He lived and created with a sense of wit, irreverence and abandon I admire," Coach creative director Reed Krakoff is quoted as saying.

Krakoff's admiration could be why, come February, Duquette's flamboyant style will be available at an accessible price for the first time, as a limited-edition collection for Coach.

Coach designers were given full access to Duquette's archives and his Dawnridge Estate. The resulting 20 pieces include a jeweled collar and clutch, enamel bracelets and a cabachon ring, all priced at less than $500.

-- Booth Moore 

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Top photos from "Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson Jewelry." Credit: Stephanie Hanchett

Bottom photos from left: Coach Tony Duquette fish  necklace and the Coach Tony Duquette dutchess bib necklace. Credit: Courtesy of Coach.

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