Hutton Wilkinson was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in the architectural offices of his father and grandfather. At eighteen he had the opportunity to apprentice under the great American design icon, Tony Duquette.
Tony Duquette, also a native of Los Angeles, was an internationally acclaimed artist and designer. In the early 1940’s he worked with such well-known designers as Lady Elsie de Wolfe Mendl, William Hanes, James Pendleton and Adrian. It was through the patronage of Sir Charles and Lady Mendl that Duquette was able to establish himself as one of the leading designers in Los Angeles, where he worked increasingly on films, creating both costumes and settings for many Metro Goldwyn Mayer productions under the auspices of the great producer, Arthur Freed and the celebrated director, Vincent Minnelli. Duquette, a self-described “do-it-yourself-De Medici” was truly a renaissance man. His works covered a vast range of disciplines including, but not limited to furniture, set design (for both film and stage), jewellery, interior design, sculpture and painting. In 1949, shortly after his first exhibition at the Mitch Liesen Gallery in Los Angeles, Duquette was asked to present his works at the Pavilion de Marsan of the Louvre Museum, Paris. Thus becoming the first, and until only recently, the only American artist to have been so honoured with a one man showing at the Louvre.
Wilkinson, who began working with Duquette in 1969, started out as a volunteer apprentice. He continued in this capacity 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. Besides his own commissions, designing custom interiors for Alida Davison Rockefeller, Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Stanfill, a palace complex in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for Princes Tarfa Bin Abdul Aziz and executive offices for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., Wilkinson, with Duquette, collaborated on interiors for Mr. and Mrs. Norton Simon, Herb Alpert and Doris Duke as well as houses in Paris and Venice for Mr. and Mrs. John N. Rosekrans.
In 1998 Wilkinson and Duquette, at the invitation of the Bergdorf Goodman store in Manhattan, launched a collection of one-of-a-kind, hand made jewellery, which has been popularly accepted by both the public and the fashion press. Since the success of this new enterprise, Wilkinson has devoted his time exclusively to the design of these unique jewelled creations under the registered international trademark “Tony Duquette”. These jewels have been used by such varied designers as Tom Ford, Gucci; Oscar de la Renta; Balmain, and Badgley Mischka. After the passing of Mr. Duquette in September of 1999, Wilkinson, as owner and president of Tony Duquette Inc., continues to design and market fine jewellery as well as a collection of home furnishings for Baker Furniture, and textiles for Jim Thompson Thai Silk and tabletop accessories and other decorations under the brand name Tony Duquette and Tony Duquette Inc. Hutton has recently written a book with Wendy Goodman on Tony Duquette and his oeuvre which will be published by Abrams Books this October.
Wilkinson and his designs have appeared on HGTV, E!-Style, E!-Entertainment, Extra and Full Frontal Fashion with American Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley. His jewellery designs for Tony Duquette Inc. have been worn on the red carpet by stars of stage, screen and television, for the Academy Awards, the Emmys and the Golden Globes by Racquel Welch, Joan Allen, Sela Ward, Patricia Heaton, Faye Dunaway, Sharon Stone, Liza Minnelli, Melissa Gilbert, Drew Barrymore, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren Graham and Sarah Michelle Geller, to name a few.
In keeping with the spirit and aesthetic sense of Mr. Duquette, Wilkinson has utilized one of Duquette’s greatest works of art, his Beverly Hills home “DAWNRIDGE”, as the company’s worldwide headquarters. There, surrounded by works of Duquette’s art from the past, Wilkinson continues their design work as a seamless transition towards the future. Mr. Wilkinson is the president of The Anthony and Elizabeth Duquette Foundation for the Living Arts, a non-profit public foundation dedicated to presenting museum quality exhibitions of artistic, scientific and educational value and to preserving and promoting the works of Tony Duquette. He is also the president of The Elsie de Wolfe Foundation, a non-profit private foundation dedicated to furthering the decorative arts in America and a member of the board of directors of “Save Venice Inc.” a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and restoring threatened Venetian monuments and works of art.
As a public speaker Mr. Wilkinson has presented talks at museums and universities on “Decorating With Antiques”, “Elsie de Wolfe”, “Movie Interiors, Hollywood High Style”, “Living Chinoiserie” and “Tony Duquette, A Personal Culture”.
Abrams books released “Tony Duquette” in November 2007. This book was written by Hutton Wilkinson and Wendy Goodman and chronicles the life of the great artist/designer in 367 fully illustrated pages with eight chapters of insightful information regarding the Duquette’s life, work and times. Now in its fifth printing, the book is one of the top selling books in its category at Amazon.com and is one of the top selling books at Abrams in its price range.