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Glamour Wounds

The Fountainebleau Hotel

I don’t care if it’s Baroque or Brooklyn, just get me plenty of glamour and make sure it screams luxury!

—a client of Morris Lapidus

TO GET ANY POWER at all, you have to go to the source of the wound. So I recently went back to Miami Beach, to “one of those ice-cream-colored Hebrew hang-outs with a French name” so charmingly described by Truman Capote, my big sister in glamour woundedness. In 1953 genius architect Morris Lapidus designed the Fountainebleau to be the most pretentious hotel in the world. Trained as an actor and set designer as well as a nice Jewish beaux-arts architect, Lapidus pounced on this, his first hotel, as the occasion to “test all the theories I had developed to please people.” Having made a fateful detour in the ’30s and ’40s as a store designer, Lapidus knew how to create a merchandising environment to facilitate the theatricality of buying things, to make

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