Bejeweled And Bedazzled with Hutton Wilkinson

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A lipstick stained napkin, a glass of bubbly, a dazzling cocktail ring here, a daring Avante garde necklace there — is the party over…or just beginning?

Talk about going to “Oz”! Except instead of landing in Emerald City, I ended up in the luscious land of oooh’s and ahhs. Newport Beach Lifestyle Magazine celebrated their one year Anniversary months ago (think long sexy gowns with plunging necklines and Tom Ford tuxes…Tres Chic!) at a Spanish inspired residence in Newport, Ca. complete with live jazz, fine wines, Jo Malone’s London Fragrance Bar and Hors d’oeuvresAna Launes and Randy Harding were the Hosts with the Mostest. We were not able to share the above video until it aired on television. Now that it has, click away!

I felt beautiful and badass at the same time in perfectly posh Oscar de La Renta and sky high heels drenched in decadence with jewelry masterpieces by the legendary Tony Duquette/Hutton Wilkinson design team (eat your heart out Dorothy). As I looked in the mirror, the extravagant and luxurious Citrine Smokey Topaz necklace adorned around my neck gave me the look of an empress. Without the crown of course. Lest we not forget to mention the amber and gold lobe luxury…Dazzlicious!

Even more exciting than the soiree was my interview for a local radio station called OC Caravan. Enter, one very dapper convivial host, Hutton Wilkinson, in his signature oversized glasses, black tuxedo, red velvet bow tie and tux shirt buttons of gold and coral. Mr. Fabulousness as I like to call him, graciously greeted me and escorted me upstairs to conduct our video interview away from mingling guests and noise. As fate would have it, we had our own little noise with the faint chirping of a smoke detector and guests opening the door to sneak a peak inside. Urgh, enough to make you wanna have alawta martini’s people…

Tony Duquette and Hutton Wilkinson were soul mates in design. Here’s a little background, but kick back and enjoy the video and learn why “more is more”:

Tony Duquette was the flamboyant “Merlin of The Design World”, creating pieces for such women as the Duchess of Windsor, Liza Minnelli, Annette de La Renta, Loretta Young, Mary Pickford, Irene Dunne, Gucci, Balmain and most importantly, his wife Beegle. Today, his extravagant one-of-a-kind pieces, which are rare and relatively few in number, are coveted by collectors around the world. (His designs are over the top refined and not for the timid at heart mind you.) He’s the only American to have a one man show at The Louvre in Paris. “If it’s not fabulous, it’s meaningless!” has been the long time mantra of the design team Hutton Wilkinson and the late Tony Duquette. His enduring appeal lies in his sense of freedom to look beyond time and place, inspired by exotic cultures blending heritage with invention.

Born with a passion and a flair for the dramatic, when Hutton was in the seventh grade he saw Tony Duquette’s work in the Home Magazine section of the Los Angeles Times, turned to his Father and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ His Father thought he was crazy. To Wilkinson, Duquette’s aesthetic seemed perfectly normal; not in the sense of being boring or expected, but in making sense and being  something in which he felt totally in sync. Wilkinson quit school at the age of 17 and worked in partnership with the American design icon for thirty years before Duquette’s death in 1999.

As President and Creative Director of the Tony Duquette brand and “Keeper of the Legacy”, Wilkinson’s day won’t come…it’s already here. Business Man, Interior Designer, Jewelry Guru, Socialite, Author, Old Hollywood Maven…one can feel the presence of Tinseltown glamour in his bones. He gushes about his high regard for the spectacular and the eccentric, distinct from other luxury brands. He is mad for Malachite and adapts his brilliance to every whim and mood, which most of the time is at two o’clock in the morning, whereby he is scrambling for a notepad and paper next to his bed. Being a creative type, I can relate.

Uninhibited and inventive, the jewelry designs recall the energy of such women on their march towards independence: dazzlingly attractive and full of spirit, their natural elegance magnified by the willingness to dare. Color saturated stones in exaggerated settings, some of which seem borderless in scale, are for the confident, self-assured woman who will turn heads from across the room. Oh do count me in! No wonder he continues to attract artistic and affluent patronage and confident women such as A-list celebs Reese Witherspoon and Halle Berry. The $88,000.00 necklace I modeled made me start having hot flashes on purpose and my heart flutter like a hummingbird. Where’s a hand-held fan when you need one?

Duquette was also considered the maximalist Decorator of Fantasy and designed for the Who’s Who in the world. Dawnridge, Duquette’s famous house behind the Beverly Hills Hotel, showcases his natural, enchanting Baroque style. He created a whimsical, theatrical, magical abode unlike anything you have ever seen. His lush life and taste for the exotic have inspired designers around the world. For fans of Duquette & Wilkinson, “Tony Duquette” books feature personal recollections, photographs and design drawings of the vintage pieces by Duquette paired with new jaw-dropping necklaces, rings, and bracelets created by Wilkinson. Wilkinson’s book “More Is More” includes a personal look into a glorious honey pot of glitz, glamour and lavish lifestyle. This stunning luxury edition with gilt-edge pages, foil stamping and cloth binding will have your heart racing. It highlights some of the best jewelry created by the dynamic duo.

So go ahead, get a little flashy with the ultimate in conspicuous adornment: showy pieces from head to toe. Whether you are schlepping around in satin mules with pink curlers or wearing a pair of red stilettos with a strapless gown, putting on a piece of Tony Duquette jewelry sparkles and makes you feel like a million…and who wouldn’t want to feel like a million?

Tomorrow I might be sweet, frivolous, aloof, crazy, angry…but tonight I smouldered. I am utterly, completely seduced. Perhaps if I kill the Wicked Witch of the West my wish will be granted and that necklace will find a new home…in my jewelry box.

Quote by John Galliano in book “More is More”-

“Tony Duquette had the eye, lived the dream and created the ultimate setting. He mixed glamour with the glittering social scene like others would hang decorations on a Christmas tree. He applied baubles of beauty to real life in his designs, and later in his jewelry line and made everything beautiful”.

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6 Comments

  1. Ana Launes

    June 30, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Great Interview!! You both are incredible professionals.
    Newport Beach Lifestyle Magazine thanks you for such extraordinary coverage and sponsorship of our 2014 Anniversary Celebration. Thank you very much, we really appreciate it.

    • thefoodstalker

      July 4, 2015 at 2:26 am

      Ana & Randy, pleasure was all mine. A Stalker’s got to do, what a Stalker’s got to do!

  2. Donna Bunce

    July 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Fabulous take on Duquette and Wilkinson, Miss Sandie! You are the wordsmith!!
    Love you,
    Donna

    • thefoodstalker

      July 4, 2015 at 2:26 am

      Donna, thank you for kind comments. Enjoy your magazine!

  3. sallycoles2013

    July 3, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Best interview yet! Love the energy between you both…what a talented man…fabulous pieces! You look stunning!!!!!

    • thefoodstalker

      July 4, 2015 at 2:24 am

      Sally, you would love his sense of style AND his quick wit! Love from across the pond…


With an Italian background, she cites her Mother and grandmother ( Mamie ) as the major influence of her love for food.  Yes, homemade pasta hung from the clothesline in the kitchen and rolling 100 meat balls for a holiday dinner was the norm.  Raised in Pennsylvania. she spent time in Atlanta, Georgia and ultimately settled along the stunning coast of Laguna Beach, Ca. Self taught in everything, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices and applies her knowledge to cooking today. Despite enjoying other creative endeavors like painting, photography and clothing design, she realized she would never love another career the way she loves all the stories surrounding food.  And it's capturing those stories that has not only become her greatest passion but a culinary drug worth passing around!  After all, food is a shared experience and no one better to share it with than the entire world. And thus the Food Stalker was born, utilizing all that passion and her fearlessness to capture even the most impossible stories. It's one thing to write about food, but far more exciting to actually capture it and all those stories that make every scent come to life.  And once she sets out, there's no stopping her, because no one follows that scent better than her---and no telling where she'll end up next.  

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