As someone who sees clothes and furniture as useful first with decorating qualities coming second I am strangely attracted to Dorothy Draper’s interiors. I never knew about her until BLOUNARTINFO shared a link to an article on Facebook. The Article covered how the TV series “Mad Men” used her interiors as inspiration for the hotels, domestic spaces and restaurants in the show.
The Article is called “The Mad Woman behind ‘Mad Men’” written by William Poundstone. He does describe her style as “goofy and blown-up” as seen in The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I do find his tone regarding her style and success somewhat offensive. He does mention her style in contrast to the Bauhaus movement and it does become the stark male lines versus the flowing female lines. In my view the Draper touch works well in those enormous interiors of the Greenbrier Resort and in other public spaces like the Met Restaurant at the Metropolitan Museum. William Poundstone makes interesting comparison between the “Mad Men” actor Don Draper and Dorothy Draper with the help of quotes. One of my favorite Dorothy Draper quotes is the one at the end of his article.
“Mirrors have come to mean much more than the original ‘looking glass.’… By using them, there are no dark, gloomy corners, no drab caverns for halls. There can be a feeling of freedom, light, air, space.” —Dorothy Draper
According to Carleton Varney, President of the Dorothy Draper & Co. Inc Company, Dorothy Draper was the first to established an Interior Design Company in the United States in 1923. He states that Dorothy Draper “invented ‘Modern Baroque’ a style that had particular application to large public spaces and modern architecture.” She loved bold color choices with unexpected results. Her favorite colors was aubergine, pink, chartreuse, turquoise, cabbage rose, dull white with a shiny black. She loved detailed and complex designs and moldings and black and white checkered floors played against extravagant lines.
Whether you love her style or hate it Dorothy Draper did change the Interior Decorating scene breaking away from the “period rooms that was popular in her time. She also did not let the Bauhaus influenced her but stay true to herself with an anti-minimalist style and her believe that, “If it looks right it is right.”
The museum of New York City showed her work in the show called “The High Style of Draper Dorothy” in 2006. This collective show went on the Women’s Museum in Dallas Texas called “In the Pink: The Legendary Life of Dorothy Draper. ” She wrote the book “Decorating is Fun!” (1939) and “Entertaining is Fun!” (1941). For more pictures of her Interiors visit Knotting Hill Interiors blog