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Angelo Donghia

James Andrew at the Donghia New York showroom

James Andrew at the Donghia New York showroom

Angelo Donghia was the Halston of the interior design world—a super-star designer with equally spectacular clients.

‘Trained at Parsons, steeped in classicism, and highly disciplined, Donghia stressed simplicity of line, purity of materials, and boldness of form, in rooms that appeared at first glance modern, but were actually based on the eighteenth-century belief in sensible proportions and careful symmetry,’ in the words of Stanley Barrows, Donghia’s teacher at Parsons….These ‘sensible proportions’ translated into comfort, something Donghia also insisted upon. ‘I design for people’ he maintained. ‘Rooms are backrounds for people : that’s why they’re called living rooms.’ (From the book, Manhattan Style, Esten).

Certainly these are all principles that inform my own approach to interior design!

As many of you may know, Donghia actually decorated Ralph and Ricky Lauren’s homes and worked on many of the early Polo Ralph Lauren stores.

Angelo Donghia and Ralph Lauren

Angelo Donghia and Ralph Lauren

While I was working at Parish-Hadley Associates, my mentor Albert Hadley told me that Ralph Lauren had called him to take a look at his 5th Avenue apartment—this was shortly after the Rhinelander Mansion became the Ralph Lauren flagship store and Lauren wanted a bit more of the same old-world feeling in his own home.

As it goes, Hadley told Lauren that Donghia’s scheme and architecture was so beyond perfect that he (Hadley) didn’t want to disturb what had been done. Instead, Hadley advised Lauren to simply mix in some fine antiques and paintings. And so, per Hadley’s suggestion, the Lauren’s employed their own design team to do just this. Recently, however, the Lauren’s have very nearly returned their home to Donghia’s original design. It goes without saying, that this speaks volumes for the longevity of Donghia’s designs.

Since Donghia’s passing, his company has been through many incarnations, but I’m thrilled to see there’s been a strong return to Donghia’s roots. Many original Donghia pieces have been brought back to life—and are as fresh and perfect for today as they were back then. There are many new and original designs to choose from too—all imbued with the founder’s spirit.

There is a whole generation coming up today that are now buying their first homes and apartments, and many of them are curious about the decadent glamour of the 70’s and the opulence of the 80’s. If you’re one of them, do look at Donghia’s latest pieces, as they recall the fabulousness of those decades. Visit the recently re-decorated Donghia showroom here in New York City, there are so many fabulous pieces that I’m feeling rather inspired to incorporate many in my own design work. Keep a lookout for the room with corner banquettes—so very chic! I’m wildly crazy about them.

I’m photographed in a stunning living room at the Donghia New York showroom which showcases several of their latest additions like the “Kent” sofa and draped “slipper chair” -—perfection!

Kent Sofa at Donghia

Kent Sofa at Donghia

Slipper Chair at Donghia

Slipper Chair at Donghia

I’m sporting a Tom Ford indigo and ivory glen check silk jacket, pale blue cotton shirt with contrast white collar and cobalt and pale blue polka dot silk tie, Charvet vintage print silk pocket square, Paul Smith pale grey wool pants, Ralph Lauren navy leather D ring belt, Gucci navy leather slip on shoes, vintage Rolex, pearl cuff links with pale blue sapphires and my fragrance is Royal-Oud by Creed.

6 Comments

  1. Danny says:

    Very dapper!

  2. David hecht says:

    I knew Angelo and spent my youth in his presence from about 68 till his death, I watched and listened to everything,He was my inspiration. I still have some photos of his orig. pieces,which i never see,maybe someone should reissue then, so comfortable, Certainly if you REALLY want to know who the man was and what made him tick, you should ask me,MANY wonderful stories,Do you know know how Grey Flan. thing came to be…blah blah, but he was the best, always wanted someone to ask me what i know, probably the only one alive,still who can tell the true story,certainly not Sheeri. Anyway, reach out if you are interested,This is the REAL DEAL….

  3. Dean Farris says:

    James, One of your best posts ever, as you shared some of your personal experiences with the reader. I heard that Bergamo Rubelli has bought the Donghia brand. I once owned one of his chic rattan coffee tables, wish I still had it. I will never get over being taken to Donghias townhouse and seeing the downstairs and upstairs lacquered drawing rooms! Up was all teal and cream satin and down was white with black and touches of periwinkle! His bedroom was all grey flannel with the bed on the floor! I died! Not to mention the John Dickinson metal draped table in the hallway…

  4. James Andrew says:

    Dear David Hecht,

    Fascintating! I would love to hear more.

    I think you will be pleased to know that many pieces from the Archive have been brought back.

    I look forward to chatting!

    Cheers

    JA

  5. James Andrew says:

    Dear Dean,

    So happy to hear you have enjoyed this post and what a treat to have seen Donghia’s town house in person.

    I have seen the photos – just sublime!

    Cheers

    JA

  6. Dean Farris says:

    Utterly delicious and decadent! I loved his Key West house also!

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