August 18, 2022
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PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, the charismatic designer who died in 2019 and was as a lot a popular culture determine as a style celebrity, would have been amused by what has been happening at Sotheby’s in Monaco and Paris this month.

“Karl felt that objects are there to serve, and other people shouldn’t be enslaved by them,” mentioned Pierre Mothes, vp of Sotheby’s France.

“He by no means needed to be shut in a mausoleum, like a pharaoh. Twenty years in the past, he instructed me: ‘I don’t need to be the conservator of my very own assortment.’”

However a sequence of three auctions of 1,200 tons from that assortment, assembled from Mr. Lagerfeld’s 5 residences in and round Paris and in Monaco, has demonstrated that his followers don’t have any such qualms.

“Karl’s style and his photographic eye impressed affection and optimistic emotions for lots of people, which makes them need to personal a part of his private universe,” mentioned Mr. Mothes, who can be the sale’s curator and head auctioneer, likening the gross sales to “an opulent but streamlined {photograph} of Mr. Lagerfeld’s universe on the finish of his life.”

Earlier this month, 1,400 bidders registered for the primary sale: 582 tons together with sketches, memorabilia and private objects, in addition to Artwork Deco furnishings and modern works by artists corresponding to Takashi Murakami, Joana Vasconcelos and Jeff Koons. Plus, a Rolls-Royce Phantom.

Initially estimated at two to 3 million euros ($2.3 million — $3.4 million), the public sale closed at €12 million ($13.3 million). At one level, a set of 5 pairs of Chanel fingerless leather-based gloves reached a hammer value of €48,260 ($54,680).

“These are actually an emblematic accent, a part of a manga-like picture that has handed into posterity,” Mr. Mothes mentioned.

For Mr. Lagerfeld, the curator continued, “sporting them was a tradition of courtesy inherited from the 18th century, the place you don’t inflict your age on others. It’s additionally a method of holding your fingers free so you’ll be able to draw. And on the identical time, everybody on the planet acknowledged these as a part of his persona, together with the sun shades and the slim-cut jackets.”

In Paris, the subsequent act of the public sale sequence was meant to kick off with a public displaying adopted by an invitation-only cocktail and after-party at Sotheby’s headquarters on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint Honoré. Due to considerations concerning the Omicron variant, nonetheless, it was downsized and occurred earlier within the day.

Even so, there was music. A celebratory but subdued celebration featured the composer Thomas Roussel orchestrating “The Frozen Backyard,” an unique soundtrack composed for the Chanel fall 2011 present held on the Grand Palais. Dancers carried out choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui to Claude Debussy’s “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

In between, Michel Gaubert, who for a few years compiled the soundtracks for Mr. Lagerfeld’s Chanel reveals, DJ’d for a gentle stream of tourists meandering by way of the greater than 200 tons organized over three flooring, together with modern furnishings from Mr. Lagerfeld’s property, plus the occasional sartorial oddity (for instance, a stack of Emgès shirt collars showcased beneath a glass globe on a base with electrical lighting).

Bidding opened on Dec. 14. Some within the viewers dressed up in furs and excessive heels or formal enterprise apparel, however most wore denims. Although a number of of the extensively spaced seats within the room remained empty, in an hour and a half, the Paris sale already had introduced in $2 million on solely 37 tons. The most well-liked merchandise of the night was a Soleil Noir mirror by Martin Szekely, one in every of many items Lagerfeld purchased from the Galerie Kreo in Paris, which bought for €375,500 ($423,620), a document for the artist and 25 instances the estimated value.

Minutes later, a cutout of Mr. Lagerfeld’s profile on paper fetched €32,760 ($36,958), solely marginally lower than a monumental, 44-arm Louis XV-style chandelier in reduce crystal and gilded bronze courting to round 1800.

In the meantime, a Dior Homme jacket from winter 2008, in black wool embellished with a damaged glass motif in PVC, which carried a excessive estimate of €1,000, bought for €35,280 ($39,801). A Chanel tote in black croc-embossed lambskin with a photograph ID go for the 2011 FIAC modern artwork present and a runway tag from Chanel’s Paris-Bombay Métiers d’Artwork present went for €94,500 ($106,610), a document for a Chanel bag at public sale mentioned Sophie Dufresne, the communications director of Sotheby’s Paris.

“Karl’s universe is an opulent one, however it’s full of on a regular basis objects,” Mr. Mothes mentioned. “Individuals determine with that they usually’re snatching up items as if he have been a rock star.”

“Karl was the final monstre sacré of his era,” he added. “There is no such thing as a equal.”

The Paris public sale ended on Dec. 16 with gross sales of €6.2 million (simply over $7 million). The third and ultimate sale within the sequence will happen in Cologne, Germany, in March. Proceeds will go to Mr. Lagerfeld’s property, which is being managed from Monaco. Although there have been rumors that his cat, Choupette, was one of many main beneficiaries, the precise names stay confidential.

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