Frenchmen: reigning monarchs of the cocktail dress

20150709_184812

After blogging about this week’s sale of Didier Ludot vintage Haute Couture fashion at Sotheby’s Paris, I couldn’t resist checking the results of the sale to see what the hottest items had been.  Overall the 20150709_193819sale rang in just short of a million euros.  The highest price was fetched by Lot 29, a Balenciaga AW65-66 evening gown covered in pink ostrich feathers that had featured on the front of the catalogue.  Estimated to sell at €6-8,000, it sold for €56,250.  It is truly a stunning piece.  I’ve added the list of the top-priced 15 Lots at the bottom and they form an interesting group.  Here’s what caught my eye.

First that the top prices (unsurprisingly) were mostly for items from the 1950s and 60s.  Notable exceptions were Thierry Mugler, Gianfranco Ferre for Dior and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.  Second, was seeing a Gianfranco Ferre for Dior suit from the 1980s fetch more than an original Christian Dior cocktail dress from 1957-58.  Third was that the top sellers were dominated by three labels and overall by French houses: Dior, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent – again not a great surprise.  Finally, it was also interesting to compare the single Yohji Yamamoto item (a cage-style corset) with the items from Comme des Garcons.  The former sold for ten times its estimate (at €10,625), while the latter all generally sold around their estimated price.

So perhaps there are some interesting learning points here for the newbie vintage fashion investor: stick to the classics for labels (especially French ones), go for the “golden age” of the 50s and 60s, buy cocktail or evening dress and choose the exceptional over the avant-garde.  Though, as ever with fashion, things change and what is keenly sought today may not be in demand tomorrow.  So that is why the ultimate good advice – for fashion as much as for other art forms – is to buy what you really, really love.

Which brings me to the two items I really, really loved: the black velvet wide-brimmed hat and the Saharienne owned by Lou Lou de la Falaise.  It turns out that I could have acquired both for less than €5,000 – admittedly expensive for a hat and tunic but what price fashion history?

The top-priced 15 Lots

1) Lot 29 BALENCIAGA HAUTE COUTURE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1965-1966 ROBE DU SOIR EN PLUMETIS DE BRIVET ENTIÈREMENT APPLIQUÉ DE PLUMES D’AUTRUCHE PAR ALBERT

Estimate   6,000 — 8,000 Lot Sold   56,250

2) Lot 143 PIERRE CARDIN HAUTE COUTURE, 1962 ROBE DU SOIR EN GAZAR VERT POMME

Estimate   2,000 — 3,000 Lot Sold   41,250

3) Lot 163 BALENCIAGA HAUTE COUTURE, 1962 ROBE DE COCKTAIL ÉVÊQUE EN CLOQUE DE LA MAISON VÉRON

Estimate   4,500 — 5,500 Lot Sold   37,500

4=) Lot 144 THIERRY MUGLER, 1979 BUSTIER EN CUIR MOULÉ VERT BRONZE PORTÉ SUR UNE JUPE MOUCHOIR DE MOUSSELINE

Estimate   3,000 — 5,000 Lot Sold   35,000

4=) Lot 8 CHRISTIAN DIOR HAUTE COUTURE PAR GIANFRANCO FERRE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1989-1990 TAILLEUR DE DRAP DE LAINE PIED-DE-POULE, GARNI D’UN NOEUD D’ORGANZA

Estimate   1,500 — 2,500 Lot Sold   35,000

6) Lot 167 PIERRE BALMAIN HAUTE COUTURE, 1953 ROBE DE COCKTAIL EN VELOURS NOIR, TRAVAIL DE FLEURS EN BOUILLONNÉ DE MOUSSELINE, TIGES ET FEUILLES EN MINUSCULES RUBANS RÉALISÉ PAR LA MAISON LESAGE

Estimate   3,000 — 5,000 Lot Sold   25,000

7) Lot 41 20150709_193803YVES SAINT LAURENT HAUTE COUTURE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1967-1968 ROBE DU SOIR ENTIÈREMENT BRODÉE DE PLUMES DE RHODOÏD SUR FOND DE PAILLETTES PAR LA MAISON LESAGE

Estimate   6,000 — 8,000 Lot Sold   23,750

8=) Lot 6 BALENCIAGA HAUTE COUTURE, 1950 TAILLEUR “PONT” EN OTTOMAN NOIR

Estimate   4,500 — 5,500 Lot Sold   22,500

8=) Lot 59 JEANNE LANVIN CASTILLO HAUTE COUTURE PAR ANTONIO DEL CASTILLO, 1956 ROBE DE COCKTAIL EN TULLE LAVANDE

Estimate   2,500 — 3,500 Lot Sold   22,500

10) Lot 160 CHRISTIAN DIOR HAUTE COUTURE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1957-1958 LIGNE “FUSEAU” MODÈLE “LOUVECIENNES” ROBE DE COCKTAIL EN OTTOMAN DE SOIE BLEU LAVANDE IMPRIMÉ

Estimate   4,000 — 6,000 Lot Sold   21,250

10=) Lot 171 CHRISTIAN DIOR HAUTE COUTURE PAR GIANFRANCO FERRÉ, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1989-1990 ROBE DE GRAND SOIR EN ORGANZA BRUME, BUSTIER BRODÉ DE PIERRES DU RHIN PAR LA MAISON LESAGE, TRAÎNE POUVANT SE PORTER EN ÉTOLE EN DENTELLE DE VALENCIENNES BRODÉE DE PERLES RETENUE PAR UN BOUQUET DE LA MAISON TROUSSELIER

Estimate   3,500 — 4,500 Lot Sold   21,250

12) Lot 70 YVES SAINT LAURENT HAUTE COUTURE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1968-1969 ROBE DE COCKTAIL EN DAIM BRODÉ DE PIERRERIES PAR LA MAISON LESAGE, BLOUSE EN SATIN ROSE TYRIEN, UNE AUTRE EN SATIN NOIR

Estimate   3,000 — 5,000 Lot Sold   20,000

13) Lot 84 CARTIER CIRCA 1950, COFFRET A BIJOUX EN CUIR NOIR

Estimate  1,000 – 1,500 Lot Sold      18,750

14) Lot 37 CHRISTIAN DIOR HAUTE COUTURE, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1957-1958 LIGNE “FUSEAU” MODÈLE “SARABANDE” ROBE DE COCKTAIL EN TULLE BRODÉ DE LA MAISON GUILLEMIN

Estimate   5,000 — 8,000 Lot Sold   15,000

15=) Lot 9 CHANEL HAUTE COUTURE PAR KARL LAGERFELD, AUTOMNE-HIVER 1994-1995 FAUX DEUX PIÈCES, HAUT EN CRÊPE NOIR, JUPE EN SATIN DUCHESSE BLANC PARSEMÉ DE PETITS NOEUDS

Estimate   2,500 — 3,500 Lot Sold   12,500

15=) Lot 67 GRÈS HAUTE COUTURE, 1981 ROBE DU SOIR EN JERSEY DE SOIE ROSE TYRIEN ET NOIR

Estimate   3,000 — 5,000 Lot Sold   12,500

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4 thoughts on “Frenchmen: reigning monarchs of the cocktail dress

  1. As I was reading your post I couldn’t help it but not to dream away about being able to be part of that kind of sale. I imagine mixture of adrenaline, joy and excitement.
    Oh, it’s just part of the history..

    xx
    majnira.com

    Like

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