In the Pink: Dorothy Draper, America's Most Fabulous Decorator

What defines tacky in double-wide decorating can redefine grand in the airy space of grand hotel or luxurious mansion. Defying both minimalism and conservatism — and, some would say, good taste — Dorothy Draper never did anything bitsy or understated, and she loathed anything "gravy" — that is, brown. A self-taught decorator of the early- and mid-20th Century, the socialite made a name for herself by dominating spaces with her big, brash, bodacious style. First "draperized" were the homes of her society friends, then posh hotels like the Carlyle (New York), Drake (Chicago), Greenbrier (West Virginia), Mayflower (Washington), and Arrow Springs (Hollywood). "In the Pink: Dorothy Draper, America's Most Fabulous Decorator" celebrates the flamboyant contributions of one of the first women in a once male-dominated industry. It's a comparatively modest exhibit that still captures its namesake's style. Along one boldly pink-striped wall, vintage photographs, rarely seen drawings, matchbooks, and Draper memorabilia offer a quick visual history of the designer, and two Double-D-inspired interiors let you decide if bigger is better. One borrows design elements from New York's MOMA's restaurant — black velvet curtains are the backdrop for a white metal chandelier that hangs like a ten-foot bulb of garlic above tasseled zebra chairs and couch. The other room boasts Jeffersonian blue walls, gilded mirrors, and furniture upholstered in cabbage rose print. (Through June 23 at Museum of Art, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-525-5500.)

 
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