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I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Crans Baldwin speak at the Marketplace Design Center in Philadelphia last week. 

This was the invitation that caught my attention and made me want to know more.  


Invitation for Crans Baldwin Presentation

 As a drapery workroom to the trade, I  get to work with many different  fabrics, Donghia and Bergamo among them, so when I got this invitation,  I knew immediately that this was going to be a great presentation.
  I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t heard of Angelo Donghia so to be able to see his designs and hear “the rest of the story” by Crans Baldwin had me saving the date! 

Donghia design. Photo courtesy of Donghia.com

 Isn’t this exquisite?  I love the mix of the colors, patterns and textures of the fabric and wallpaper.  If this were my dining room I’d have a hard time leaving the table! 

Donghia design. Photo courtesy of Donghia.com

 I LOVE the screens behind this sectional and again, the subtleness of the grays and taupes against the white sofa make we want to just melt into it.  All I need is a glass of Robertson sweet Rosé and a great design magazine like Veranda, and I’m good to go.  Do Not Disturb!
 And now to the reason for the presentation:
I took this collage of photos from the website because these were pictures that were in the presentation.  We see the iconic designer himself, as well as his work on the front page of the Architectural Digest magazine. 
In the top right photo he is with Ralph Lauren, who became one of his friends as well as a client.  Crans had many great stories behind these photos and here is one about Angelo and Ralph.
They highly respected one another for their contributions to design and each decided that they would not cross over into the other’s design realm.  Angelo stayed with interiors and Ralph stayed with clothing.  It was only after Angelo passed away that Ralph then broke into the interior design world and marketed his lines of which we are familiar today.

Angelo Donghia collage courtesy of Donghia.com

Angelo left at 18 years of age to go to NYC to attend the Parsons School of Design.   After working with and later becoming a partner at Yale Burge Interiors, in 1972 the firm was renamed Donghia Associates due to the death of Burge.  In the 70’s and 80’s he had high profile clients the likes of which included Donald Trump, Diana Ross and Barbara Walters to name a few.  He became quite a phenomenom himself.
Another story:  It seems that this chandelier belonged to Angelo himself, but as he was working with Mary Tyler Moore on a project,  she fell in love with it and had to have it.  She kept asking him how much and he said it was not for sale.  She didn’t give up though, because this photo represents the finished room he did for her and it has his chandelier hanging in it!  She obviously gave him a price he couldn’t refuse!

Mary Tyler Moore's Chandelier

 This was a project he did for Ralph Lauren at his house in Jamaica.  The decor is all white and clean looking.  Normally, when you think of Ralph and his lines, color comes to mind.  Another story:  because Ralph worked with color all day long, the last thing he wanted to see when he came home was more color.  So, the decor was white where it was refreshing and relaxing and a change of pace.  His apartment in New York was also white.

Ralph Lauren's Jamaican house

 This is Gerry.  She’s the Marketing director for the Marketplace Design Center and is the one who makes these wonderful events happen!  Not only do we get to hear fascinating leaders in the industy speak, there is always a luncheon afterward and as everyone knows, I like to eat.  And the food is always great!  So how could I possibly pass this opportunity up?

Me and Gerry at one of the Marketplace's previous functions

 Now we are in the Vita DeBellis Showroom where the luncheon was held and where Donghia and Bergamo fabrics can be found.  It was also a nice opportunity to meet Crans as well. 
This particular fabric is a gorgeous digitally printed lightweight velvet.  Pictures truly don’t do it justice because it has the softest hand and drapes so nicely.  The different colorways this pattern comes in are breathtaking.  Yes, I silently gasped when I saw it!

Rubelli fabric pattern Malvasia at the Vita DeBellis Showroom

 Here is another fabric that I gasped at when I saw it too!  These butterflies just pop off the groundcloth and the colors were so alive I was immediately wondering where I could use it and who I could use it for!

Bergamo fabric pattern Villa Carlotta at the Vita DeBellis Showroom

 OK.  Here’s the one that not only made me gasp (which did come out audibly) but also made my eyes pop!  This is the most fascinating oriental toile I have seen in a long time in that the groundcloth is cotton and the actual toile is velvet pile!  I would love to use this for wall upholstery and I envision myself  not being able to stay away from the wall.  How could I get anything done when this vision of beauty is all I care to look at?  Major distraction so it could never be in my office.  Quote, what quote?  Invoice, what invoice?  Oh, you need paid?   Yeah, I think you understand just how distracting this could be for me.

Donghia fabric Sansui color Song Blue at the Vita DeBellis Showroom

 Another beautiful distraction is this silk!  Very lightweight and many possibilities.

Donghia silk fabric Shibori Stripe in Lagoon at the Vita DeBellis Showroom

 This is a fabric sample Crans held up and said when you’re ready to upholster that throne………..yep, this is very regal isn’t it?

Bergamo pattern Pantalon at the Vita DeBellis Showroom

 Samples on display.

Donghia Fabric Collection at Vita DeBellis Showroom

 More samples on display.

Donghia Fabric Collection at Vita DeBellis Showroom



The Rubelli Group, an Italian family owned business, is the company that bought Donghia in 2005.   A new showroom was opened up in Paris on the Left Bank in 2009 so when I go back to Paris, I will make sure I get there.  I had only made it to the showrooms on the Right Bank so now once again, I have another reason to go back!   

A new showroom was opened up in 2010 at the DCOTA in Florida as well as one in Moscow.   Another story:  it seems that the Russians think that our decor is still that of the 80’s and the TV show “Dynasty” and “Dallas” because that is what is offered on their state run television!  So when it comes to decor, guess what they want?  You guessed it!  You give them what they want!

In NYC at the D & D building, a new showroom is under construction as well so exciting things are happening in the world of Donghia and Bergamo!


It was an interesting presentation and Crans held my attention well with all the stories and just his general knowledge.  He has a blog too entitled, A Glass Half Full, so I encourage you to check it out!  Not only is he an excellent speaker, but he is an excellent writer as well.  And the next time you have an opportunity to go hear him, please go, you won’t be disappointed.