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'If it looks right, it is right': Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Dorothy Draper

Dorothy Draper was not only a legendary decorator but also a woman of vibrant character and groundbreaking vision. Born into a wealthy New England family during the extravagant Gilded Age, Draper's upbringing in the exclusive...

Dorothy Draper

Dorothy Draper was not only a legendary decorator but also a woman of vibrant character and groundbreaking vision. Born into a wealthy New England family during the extravagant Gilded Age, Draper's upbringing in the exclusive Tuxedo Park shaped her unique perspective on design. She rebelled against the stifling atmosphere of Old Guard New York and embarked on a courageous journey to establish interior decorating as a respected profession.

Dorothy Draper Portrait Captured by David Berns in the 1930s, Dorothy Draper's portrait showcases her rising fame as a trendsetter.

Carleton Varney, a trusted friend and renowned expert in the industry, reflects on Draper's remarkable achievements. Her influence extended far beyond the elite circles she was born into. Draper had a mission to bring stylish living and elegant entertaining to middle-class Americans. Through her syndicated newspaper columns, magazine articles, pamphlets, and books, she became an invaluable advisor on all things decor.

Draper's designs broke conventional norms with revolutionary color combinations, oversized flower prints on white backgrounds, and striking black-and-white accents, including checkerboard floors. She created furnishings, decorations, and accessories that exuded glamour and opulence, earning her the title of "tastemaker" in an era that had yet to coin the term.

Dorothy Draper's Designs The Draper look: Dorothy Draper's signature style showcased in her lavish designs.

In 2006, the Museum of the City of New York introduced a new generation to Dorothy Draper's work through a groundbreaking exhibition. Today, admirers flock to The Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia to witness her original designs and the legacy that continues through decorator Carleton Varney, the current owner of Dorothy Draper & Company.

Varney, having spent decades collaborating closely with Draper, shares fascinating insights into her work and personality. Draper's unwavering demand for bright, clear colors set her apart. She fearlessly combined scarlet and fuchsia, acid green and Kelly green, and rose with burgundy and turquoise. Varney vividly recounts Draper's discerning eye for color and her famous saying, "If it looks right, it is right."

Dorothy Draper's Legacy Dorothy Draper's iconic designs still grace The Greenbrier hotel, carrying on her visionary legacy.

Draper's impact extended beyond commercial projects. She left her mark on iconic New York City landmarks, transforming spaces such as the Carlyle Hotel and the Hampshire House apartment tower. Her talent knew no boundaries, as she worked on projects ranging from the Arrowhead Springs hotel in California to the Palacio Quitandinha resort in Brazil.

Carleton Varney's revised biography of Dorothy Draper, "The Draper Touch: The High Life and High Style of Dorothy Draper," offers a comprehensive exploration of her remarkable life and career. Updated with never-before-seen historical documents and photographs, the book is a testament to Draper's enduring influence.

Draper's legacy lives on in the hearts and homes of those she inspired. Her revolutionary designs and unwavering passion for beauty continue to shape the world of interior decorating. Dorothy Draper was not only a visionary decorator but also a trailblazer who empowered generations to embrace style and elegance in their everyday lives.

*Please note: This article has been created utilizing the original content and images from the source article.

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