One of L.A.’s greatest interior designers, Paul Fortune, died on Tuesday, June 16, at his Ojai home. The British-born talent came to Los Angeles in 1978, and, as the well-worn story goes, fell in love with it and never looked back. But his wit, wisdom, outlook, and accent were unmistakably British. Tall and handsome with horn-rimmed glasses and a wit as dry as a good martini, he was a Noel Coward soigné gentleman come to life.
Some of his many iconic achievements included putting the Cadillac through the roof of the L.A. Hard Rock Cafe, restoring Sunset Tower, and designing homes for Marc Jacobs, Mick Jagger, Gary Oldman, and music titans Nancy and Ken Berry. His own Laurel Canyon home was the subject of many a magazine story.
The L.A. Times once called Fortune the “King of Comfort,” hailing his designs for their livability. “So many places in this town are about a facade, a look, or it’s all about ego,” Fortune said. “Much of what I see is not about a way of life, like having a great chair and a great lamp so you can sit down and read or look out a window. We need wombs—places we can retreat to and live in.”
Aside from his great design talents, Fortune was quite the man about town, dining with rock stars, artists, photographers, and society types, like Anne Crawford, who tells Architectural Digest, “He was so funny, so deliciously wicked, so supremely talented.”