|Mr. Tony Duquette|
How does one condense a Curriculum Vitae whose entries include a Tony Award for best costume in an original production of Camelot, a dozen major museum exhibits on both U.S. coasts and in Paris, a roster of private clients listing the likes of J. Paul Getty, Mr. And Mrs. Norton Simon, Doris Duke and, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor? Corporate commissions covering the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago, Music Center of Los Angeles, Sheraton Hotel Corporation, and far from finally, still more costumes and sceneries for films, operas and ballets bearing universally famed and favored titles?
The question is rhetorical, but the protagonist is real: Anthony Michael Duquette, born a mite over 85 years ago in California and thereafter dividing his early years between his home state and Michigan. A graduate of the Chouinard Art Institute, he was "discovered" in the mid-1930's by interior design pioneer Lady Elsie de Wolfe Mendl, who, with Sir Charles Mendl, bestowed the patronage that helped launch Mr. Duquette's creative career. He served in the U.S. Army in World War II, honorably demobbed after four years, he resumed his theater and cinema work. In 1949 he married Elizabeth "Beagle" (a contraction of the busy bee and soaring eagle) Johnstone, a talented artist in her own right and reportedly very beautiful to boot. Their collaborative ventures led to assignments in Europe, South America, the Orient and all over this country. In 1979 they formed the Anthony and Elizabeth Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts, a non-profit enterprise dedicated to the promotion of outstanding art to the public. Untold numbers of special exhibits and presentations furthered the same cause. In 1989 the Duquette Pavilion, containing the craftsman's sculptures and other works of art, was totaled by a fire; four years later, his "modern Shangri-La" in the Malibu mountains also fell victim to flames. And in 1995, his Elizabeth died.
A more recent show opened at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. It focused on a new collection of 18k gold jewelry, precious stone-set objects and furniture reflective of Mr. Duquette's product lines developed in conjunction with business partner Hutton Wilkinson over the past 32 years. Mr. Duquette's reputation for things glamorous and magically alluring will remain timeless.