Remembering Decorating Legend Mario Buatta

A look back at the prince of chintz's iconic designs.

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Mario Buatta, the design legend who loved tulips (preferably black and white ones, but never mixed), favored a monkey cuckoo clock for an alarm, and was known as the "Prince of Chintz," has passed away at the age of 82.

Even if you didn't grow up with Buatta's designs, there are many things you can glean from his personal style just by seeing them. He was extra before "extra" was a thing. Buatta was known for his use of chintz—printed cotton fabric with a glazed finish—and for his "exuberant" use of pillows, tassels, and bows, wrote. It's no understatement—his curtains were so elaborate that a set might cost $12,000 in today's money, the newspaper added.

"He was just a mix master at taking two different fabrics and putting them together like nobody else could. You think of these in­cred­ibly beautiful florals and how cheery and happy they look," New York designer Alex Papachristidis told . "What he did looked collected, but it was actually just decorated."

Designers, friends, and fans have shared tributes to Buatta and their memories of him, like Southern Charm's Patricia Altschul, who wrote, "We were the closest of friends for over 30 years....I miss you already," in a touching .

"In the context of American politics and design, the nomenclature for our current era is yet to be coined. But stylistically, a substantial swath of it pertaining to interior design and decoration may be described as 'Buatta.' Such is the influence of decorator Mario Buatta in the decorative narrative of America over the last four decades," textile designer Christopher Hyland shared on Instagram. "Mario Buatta is the standard-bearer of a design sensibility both ancient, certainly in American terms, and eminently compelling as a continuing component of design history."

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Among Buatta's roster of clients were famous names like Mariah Carey, Billy Joel, and Malcolm Forbes, and over the years, his work was featured several times in CQ, highlighting his romantic approach to decor. Today, we honor his legacy with a few of his most memorable designs, which evoke his sense of fearlessness—and playfulness.

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