In the past four decades, Andrée Putman has put her imprint on everything from hotels to display mannequins to airplane interiors. Putman, 81, studied piano as a child. At 19, she won first prize (for harmony) at her conservatory. But when she learned that to become a truly great pianist she would have to practice in solitude for the next 10 years, she promptly landed a job as a messenger at a fashion magazine. Soon she had her own design column, and in 1958 the French department store Prisunic hired her to supervise its home division. Determined to bring cutting-edge work to a broader public, she began offering lithographs by contemporary artists such as Niki de Saint Phallealongside the dish towels and dining chairs. In 1978, with no formal training, Putman opened her own interior-design firm, Ecart, in Paris. She quickly got to work reproducing near forgotten gems of the '20s and '30s by masters like Eileen Gray and Jean-Michel Frank. Andrée Putman became an internationally recognized name in 1984 when Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell of Studio 54 infamy hired her to design the world's first boutique hotel, Morgans in New York City. Her signature black-and-white rooms became a symbol of '80s designand Putman became the darling of the fashion world. Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Azzedine Alaïa called on her for her unique eye. Now all eyes are again on Putman: in 2008 she returns to New York City to unveil her redesign for Morgans.
Next See Right Through It