Paris Fashion Week runways are meant to highlight the styles of the future, but the upcoming Christie’s auction is dedicated to the looks of the past.
The online sale, which will run from January 11 to 25, includes 114 haute couture pieces from some of the most prolific designers of the 20th century. Think Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Hubert de Givenchy to name a few.
The VWS collection was assembled by a family fleeing the persecution of the Russian Tsarist Empire at the beginning of the 20th century. VWS are the initials of the patriarch of the family who traveled with her from Russia through China to France, collecting art, fashion and decorative objects along the way.
Couture mainly dates back to the 70s, 80s and 90s of the last century, the couture in the Fashion Week sale highlights the skill and savoir faire of various fashion giants. The collection features cocktail dresses, suits and embroidered garments that promise lots of colour, elegance and drama.
Take, for example, an 1980s purple velvet Chanel dress covered in pearls (high estimate: $6,449 / EUR 6,000) or an Yves Saint Laurent jacket embellished with sequins, jewels and gold leather (high estimate: $5,374 / EUR 5,000) There are also more subdued pieces, such as a black velvet ensemble by Hubert de Givenchy that dates to 1979 and pays homage to Elsa Schiaparelli (high estimate: $1,289 / €1,200).
Prices range from $425 (€400) to $4,250 (€4,000) each, but items could fetch more. In fact, two pieces from the VWS collection have already fetched impressive figures at Christie’s December sale: A 1996-97 Chanel coat and skirt fetched more than ten times their pre-sale high estimate, selling for almost $300,000 (€277,200), while a Jacket and a 1988 Yves Saint Laurent skirt achieved six times its high estimate, selling for just over $162,000 (€151,200).
The collection will be exhibited in Paris from January 19 to 25. Christie’s says 5 percent of the auction proceeds will be donated to Paris’ Arts Décoratifs Museum.
So consider it couture for a good cause.