In 1935, Doris Duke, “the richest girl in the world,” embarked on a 10-month honeymoon across the globe, touching down in Morocco, Syria, Iran, Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. Her grand tour ended in Honolulu, but it marked the beginning of Duke’s lifelong passion for Islamic art and architecture. Over the next few decades, Duke would build her Shangri La estate in Oahu’s Diamond Head—complete with a painted Damascus parlor, a turquoise-tented dining area, and room upon room of glazed tiles, filigreed metalwork, Suzani carpets, and mother-of-pearl-inlaid furniture. What could have been a garish, over- the-top Spanish-Moorish-Persian-Indian mashup is instead a trove of exotic craftsmanship and artistry. The book Doris Duke’s Shangri La, out this month (Rizzoli), offers an exclusive peek—and accompanies the first traveling exhibition, beginning September 7 (through January 6, 2013) at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City—at many of the property’s rare objects and archives.
Photo: Tim Street-Porter 2011/Doris Duke