Saturday, February 18, 2012

Lesley Bows Out

He made it to the Black & White Committee's annual ball last October at the Sydney Town Hall but on Friday, interior designer Lesley Walford succumbed to cancer at the age of 85.

Walford was the decorator of choice in the ritzy Eastern Suburbs and upper North Shore where mansions still boast elegant living rooms with the Walford touch.

The Packers, Fairfaxs, Waltons and Macarthur Onslows- all had their salons designed by Lesley although not, as he often claimed, "that brash newspaper chap from Adleaide who showed no interest in his surroundings. His wife Anna wanted to hire me but her husband said I was too expensive".
Lesley Walford at the Black & White Ball last year

He was referring of course to Rupert Murdoch who had taken up residence in Sydney having acquired the Daily Mirror at the beginning of his world-wide adventures.

Walford travelled all over the world collecting antiques and object'd'art for his clients.
A favourite stop was Tangier where he would stay with his pal the French champagne maker Nicholad Feuillatte in Feullatte's Moroccan palace.

Walford once recalled how he arrived after an exhausting flight from Melbourne, caught a taxi to the Feuillatte villa where the door was opened by a fair haired lady in her 60s who looked vaguely familiar. She directed hin to a first floor bedroom and told the jet lagged designer he should join her and their host on the terrace for lunch at 2pm after his nap. Waking refreshed Walford headed for the terrace and heard the lady, now in animated conversation with a strong Scanadanavian accent. It finally dawned on Lesley who she was-the Hollywood legend Great Garbo who became a friend and who Lesley would later visit in New York.

For a time he was the social scribe on the Sun Herald newspaper. Once at a Saturday evening ball he was photographed with a glass of champagne in hand, dictating copy to his secretary who transcribed his words on a portable typewriter held on a silver tray by a waiter.

Lesley Walford's funeral will take place on Moncay at 3pm at St Marks Church in Darling Point.