Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Tilletts

A Charming Show at the
Museum of the City of New York
On a recent Sunday afternoon, we took the 6 train to 103rd street to the Museum of the City of New York to view "The World of D.D. and Leslie Tillett."
Leslie and D.D. Tillett
In 1944, Leslie Tillett was designing beautiful textiles with his brother in Cuernavaca, Mexico, when Harper's Bazaar sent D.D. Doctorow to write an article about the printworks.
D.D. fell in love with Leslie and stayed in Mexico to work with him. In 1946 they moved to New York City and established a textile design business. The Museum has mounted a little love song of a show consisting of textile designs, clothes, photographs and memorabilia from their charmed life together.
Floral motifs, stripes and fish are shown on these fabrics and garments. The caftan is for sale in the museum shop for $2,700.
 Designers such as Claire McCardell used Tillett fabrics for their garments.

An abstract sailboat motif on an blue-green sea.

 A black silk blouse with yellow fish is paired with a print skirt.

I love these 18th century characters who look like 
they belong in the French Revolution.
 This little Chinese-looking jacket sports a painting
 of the Queen of Roses.
 So pretty!
 Thorns and spider webs.
 A painting by D.D. Tillett. Her son, Seth Tillett
 has said that his mother's work had a
"Oops, I dropped a bouquet on the floor" look.
A D.D. Tillett drawing.
A painting by D.D. Tillett
Tillett jewelry in the exhibit. 
The eye is so delicately drawn and looks
great with the coral and the blue stones.
 Jackie Kennedy was a client of the Tilletts'
 and used their fabrics in the White House.
A Tillett fabric on Jackie's sundress.
Jackie also brought the Tilletts to Skorpios in Greece
to help with the decoration of the villa that
Aristotle Onassis was building.
A poetically titled scrap book by Leslie. 
The couple's Manhattan shop was called
What a beautiful, interesting couple.
Imagine their life working together on creative
projects -- working with only the best designers of
the day out of their town house.
A truly hands-on endeavor far from mass production.
 Drawing by Leslie Tillett.
 Aliens in thrall of the devil, I imagine.
 A display of photographs against Tillett fabrics.
 Richard with a selection of men's wear with Tillett designs.

Jackie had a Tillett sundress with the raspberry motif above.
Later, she used it on curtains in a Palm Beach bedroom.
Richard fits right in with pattern on pattern.
Here I am in my Paris-bought Tsumori Chisato
silk dress posing in front of a
cascade of Tillett fabrics.

The Tillett show runs through January 6th at
The Museum of the City of New York
1220 5th Avenue at 103rd Street

À Bientôt!


  1. Thanks for another amazing museum review. A beautiful love story that mirrors the splendor of the textiles. You and Richard look great too.

  2. Boy, does Richard sure know how to dress up for a day on the town. You both look wonderful too.
    I loved reading about the Tillett's lives together and how they must have kept each other inspired and supported in so many ways over the years.

    I especially loved your description, "a little love song of a show." Perfectly expressed. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I love this Tillett exhibit and all these fun patterns (and your beautiful Tsumori)! I especially enjoyed Richard in a sea of patterns- so perfect!

  4. Thank you so much. I was feeling sorry for myself for not being able to make it to the exhibition before it closes...your wonderful pix made me feel I haven't missed anything. Great work!

  5. Great pictures of your tour thanks. I didn't see any paintings on display by Leslie? Only a couple by DD. We actually have lucked into possession of a rare limited print of Leslie's work "Langosta". We have number 5 of 13 and are curious if there are any other survivors? This was bought in the tropics maybe 40 years ago or more? (Mexico perhaps?). Anyone with helpful info please contact me through my website. We are interested in having the full story to this piece. Thank you in advance.

  6. Hi, I have a piece of
    D. D. and Leslie Tillett, Inc., New York I need to understand more if you can help? My email is