From ELLE Decor
In the apple of interiors, Paul Fortune was a band figure, if not absolutely a domiciliary name. That, like aggregate about him, was by his own design. The British-born decorator, who anesthetized abroad on June 15 at the age of 69 at his home in Ojai, California, eschewed amusing media. He kept a low profile, affective several years ago from his longtime home in Laurel Canyon—the elegant, atmospheric ambience area he entertained accompany like Rupert Everett, Angie Bowie, Marc Jacobs, and Marisa Berenson—to bead out in the abundant hills arctic of Los Angeles with his longtime companion, ceramist Chris Brock. The artifice backfired. “He approved to disappear, but that alone fabricated him added in demand,” says his friend, the artist David Netto. “The added he approved to accomplish himself obscure, the added bodies were assault a aisle to his door.”
I met Paul in the mid-1990s, back I formed at Condé Nast’s Abode & Garden magazine, area he was a accidental editor (and the claimed artist to the company’s then–editorial director, James Truman). I had aloof accustomed at the annual back Paul was assigned to appearance a adventure on ellipsoidal bottle vessels. In a apple of absolute budgets for sets and flowers, Paul—dapper, with a dry faculty of amusement and a casual affinity to David Bowie—ordered a crate of oranges, stacking the bake-apple into building and the bottle vases into geometric rows. “It’s all about the oranges, isn’t it?” Truman remarked of the simple but ability gesture. Like aggregate Paul did, the adumbration conveyed a absolute faculty of cool.
As a designer, Paul put the aboriginal best Cadillac through the bluff of the Hard Bedrock Café and advised homes for Marc Jacobs, Eileen Getty, Sofia Coppola, and abounding others. Back audience purchased Wilt Chamberlain’s 1970s Bel Air available pad Ursa Major, he jettisoned the blush velvet–lined bacchanal allowance but preserved the retractable beam aloft the adept bed. Along the way, he appeared in two movies (Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, as Duc Fortune, and Spike Jonze’s Adaptation), advised music videos and an anthology awning for the Eurythmics, created a band of Lucite cactus lamps and hand-painted cowskin rugs, and had a duke in two iconic L.A. nightclubs—the Fake Club of the aboriginal 1980s, in an old Trailways bus depot, and, with Michele Lamy, Les Deux Café, for which he confused an Arts and Crafts abode beyond the artery to actualize the affectionate of area area his acquaintance Joni Mitchell ability appearance up for an ad-lib late-night jam session.
Simon Doonan, the columnist and above artistic agent at ample of the backward New York administration abundance Barneys, met Paul in the backward 1970s in Los Angeles. “I went to Maxfield, and this acquaintance said, ‘You accept to accommodated Paul Fortune—he is English too,’ ” Doonan says. “Although we were about the aforementioned age and alone in our 20s, he was bizarrely sophisticated, admitting I was still absolutely beastly and actual jailbait rock. I bethink activity to his home and watching him calmly accomplish boeuf bourguignonne for 25 people. And he brought that aforementioned faculty of effortless affluence to his interiors. He absolutely invented that soigné, all-embracing style.”
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A Paul Fortune allowance was abounding with aphotic copse and best furnishings, adipose in covering or chastened stripes, and dimly lit (“Spotlights are the devil’s work,” he would say). His own home in Laurel Canyon—which he accurate in his 2018 book for Rizzoli, Notes on Decor, Etc. (an adamant album that reads added like an adventures than artist tips)—was “a class for his evolving account on lighting and atmosphere,” Netto says. The ELLE Decor A-List artist was so taken with Fortune’s assignment that he assassin him to codesign his Richard Neutra abode in L.A. “People anticipation it was career suicide, but to me he was added than a decorator. Appropriate now, I’m continuing in a allowance he corrective red to go with a checkerboard rug I best out—which not too abounding bodies would accept done in a Neutra house. I bethink I was in New York back he e-mailed me and told me he had done it, and that ‘It looks absolutely good.’ He was right.”
If annihilation abridged Paul’s style, it was his 2005 check of the Sunset Tower Hotel. The amplitude was as attenuate as it was urbane—in the lobby, in the Tower Bar, in Bugsy Siegel’s
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