Melissa Collison


the original mrs draper

Today we're looking at the work of Dorothy Draper.  The original Draper divorcee.  And, looking at the set design on Mad Men, probably the reason why Betty Draper is called Betty Draper.

Dorothy Draper was a true pioneer in interior decorating; America's first female interior designer whose exuberant style remains influential in today's trend-driven contemporary design world. Brave colour contrasts, ornate and oversized Baroque-style plasterwork, even just the idea that being surrounded by brightness and beauty can improve our quality of living.  And, just like her entire approach to decorating, much of her advice still holds true: "If it feels right, it's right." - Dorothy Draper (1889-1969)

Although she came from an aristocratic background, and much of her best-known work was for large-scale commercial projects (hotels and the like), her classic book Decorating is Fun! brought her ideas and natural confidence to mid-century domestic life across the US:  "Birds are so much wiser than we! A robin builds a nest for robins. A seagull builds a nest for seagulls. They don't copy each other - or build themselves nests as described in The Birds' Decorating Magazine."