Over the Top

What Vogue editor Diana Vreeland was to fashion in the mid-20th century, Dorothy Draper was to interior design: an advocate of rich color, sumptuous fabrics and a touch of eccentricity. Born to wealth, former debutante Draper created a signature style that usually included black-and-white checkerboard floors, baroque mirrors, brightly painted walls, wallpapers in big floral prints and lots of chintz and fringe. Draper loved romantic furniture and bold accessories, but never clutter, insisting that rooms needed fresh plants, flowers and fireplaces glowing with flames anytime weather permitted. The effect was rich and very personal. Often hired for commercial installations such as the lobby of the Carlyle Hotel in New York and the penthouse of the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, Draper influenced not only interior design but architecture and furniture design. As minimalism took hold, Draperism was seen as gaudy and garish. But Draper's style is making a comeback among designers sick of rigidly edited rooms where everything is sleek and hard and, well, minimalist. Beautiful but not much fun to sit on. A new exhibit called In the Pink: The Legendary Life of Dorothy Draper, shows scenes from many of her famous locations, as well as Draper's personal artifacts and photographs. Tickets are $3 to $5. The exhibit runs through March 31, 2007, at the Women’s Museum, 3800 Parry Ave. in Fair Park. Call 214-915-0871 or visit thewomensmuseum.org.
Dec. 15-March 15
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Glenna Whitley