New York Local News, Politics, Sports & Business

Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate Auction – The New York Times


PARIS – Karl Lagerfeld, the charismatic designer who died in 2019 and was both a pop culture figure and a fashion superstar, would have amused what happened at Sotheby’s in Monaco and Paris this month.

“Karl believed that objects are there to serve and people shouldn’t be enslaved by them,” said Pierre Mothes, vice president of Sotheby’s France.

“He never wanted to be locked in a mausoleum like a pharaoh. Twenty years ago he said to me, ‘I don’t want to be the restorer of my own collection.’ “

But a series of three auctions with 1,200 lots from this collection, put together in Mr. Lagerfeld’s five residences in and around Paris and Monaco, has shown that his fans have no such qualms.

“Karl’s taste and his photographic eye have aroused affection and positive feelings for many people, which leads them to own a part of his personal universe,” said Mothes, who is also the curator and auction director of the auction, and compares the auctions to “a luxurious one , but streamlined photo of Mr. Lagerfeld’s universe at the end of his life. “

At the beginning of the month 1,400 bidders registered for the first sale: 582 lots, including sketches, memorabilia and personal effects, as well as Art Deco furniture and contemporary works by artists such as Takashi Murakami, Joana Vasconcelos and Jeff Koons. Also a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Originally valued at two to three million euros (2.3 million to 3.4 million US dollars), the auction closed at 12 million euros (13.3 million US dollars). A set of five pairs of fingerless leather gloves from Chanel at times reached a hammer price of € 48,260 ($ 54,680).

“These are truly an emblematic accessory, part of a manga-like image that has passed on to posterity,” said Mr. Mothes.

For Lagerfeld, the curator continues, “wearing was a culture of courtesy from the 18th century, in which one does not force others to be of one’s age. It’s also a way to keep your fingers free so you can draw. And at the same time everyone in the world recognized them as part of their personality, together with the sunglasses and the slim-fitting jackets. “

In Paris, the next act in the auction series was to begin with a public screening, followed by an invitation-only cocktail and an after-party at Sotheby’s headquarters on Rue du Faubourg-Saint Honoré. However, due to concerns about the Omicron variant, it was scaled down and took place earlier in the day.

Still there was music. At a solemn but muted party, composer Thomas Roussel orchestrated “The Frozen Garden”, an original soundtrack composed for the 2011 Chanel autumn show at the Grand Palais. Dancers performed a choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui for Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun”.

In between, Michel Gaubert, who had composed the soundtracks for Mr. Lagerfeld’s Chanel shows for many years, acted as a DJ for a steady stream of visitors who meander through the more than 200 lots spread over three floors, including contemporary furniture from the estate of Mr. Lagerfeld, plus the occasional sartorial curiosity (for example a stack of Emgès shirt collars presented under a glass ball on a pedestal with electric lighting).

The tender started on December 14th. Some in the audience wore furs and high heels or formal business attire, but most wore jeans. Although several of the widely spaced seats in the room remained empty, the Paris sale in an hour and a half had raised $ 2 million on just 37 lots. The most popular item of the evening was a Soleil Noir mirror by Martin Szekely, one of many pieces that Lagerfeld bought from Galerie Kreo in Paris and sold for 375,500 euros (423,620 US dollars), a record for the artist and 25 times the estimated price.

Minutes later, a section of Mr. Lagerfeld’s profile on paper brought in 32,760 euros, only slightly less than a monumental, 44-arm chandelier in Louis XV style made of cut crystal and gilded bronze from around 1800.

A winter 2008 Dior Homme jacket made of black wool with a broken glass motif in PVC, estimated at 1,000 euros, sold for 35,280 euros (39,801 US dollars). A black crocodile-embossed Chanel bag with photo ID for the 2011 FIAC contemporary art show and a catwalk day of Chanel’s Paris-Bombay Métiers d’Art show cost € 94,500 ($ 106,610), a record for a Chanel Bag at auction said Sophie Dufresne, communications director at Sotheby’s Paris.

“Karl’s universe is luxurious, but full of everyday objects,” said Mothes. “People identify with it and grab pieces like he’s a rock star.”

“Karl was the last monstre sacré of his generation,” he added. “There is no equivalent.”

The Paris auction ended on December 16 with sales of 6.2 million euros (just over 7 million US dollars). The third and final sale of the series will take place in Cologne in March. The proceeds will go to Mr. Lagerfeld’s estate, which is administered from Monaco. Although there have been rumors that his cat, Choupette, was one of the main beneficiaries, the actual names remain confidential.


Comments are closed.