West Palm Beach, FL —On April 18, runway action halted temporarily as fashionistas worldwide grabbed their mobile devices to bid in Urban Culture Auctions’ sale of original sketches by the late Chanel mastermind Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019). After weeks of relentless media coverage, the auction of fashion drawings from Lagerfeld’s days as a budding couturier had finally arrived. By the time the hammer came down on the last lot 4½ hours later, the auction had realized $247,520 and was 100% sold.
“The auction far exceeded our expectations. We had many new-bidder sign-ups, and from everywhere you can imagine - Russia, Australia, Japan, probably a dozen European countries, and all over the United States,” said auctioneer and Urban Culture Auctions co-owner Rico Baca. “Here at the gallery we served our Palm Beach-area guests refreshments of champagne, fresh strawberries and Godiva chocolates but didn’t serve a meal as we usually do, because there were only 125 lots. We thought the sale would be over in less than two hours, but we obviously underestimated the power of Karl Lagerfeld. He was in charge.”
All of the drawings were created in the 1960s when Lagerfeld worked for the House of Tiziani in Rome. Many bore his handwritten notations in the margins and some had swatches of original fabric attached. The artworks are especially rare because Lagerfeld routinely discarded anything he viewed as extraneous. “If those designs had not been kept in the Tiziani archive and preserved by two subsequent owners, they would have been lost forever. We hope some of them will end up in fashion museums, as they are so precious,” Baca said.
Most of the drawings ended up selling for about mid-estimate, and many sold for the high estimate or more. “We thought the bidding might calm down as the sale progressed, but bidding was intense to the very last lot,” Baca said.
Among the top sellers was a black-and-white drawing of a chic three-piece mini-skirted suit with matching hat, which sold for $4,550 against an estimate of $500-$1,500; and a similarly estimated full-color drawing of a floor-length peasant-style dress, which garnered $2,990. A sketch depicting a floaty off-white evening gown with feathery tiered layers adorning its A-line skirt and elbow-length sleeves was bid to $2,860; while a slinky depiction of a model wearing a black tee top and matching wide-flared trousers closed at $2,730. Both lots had been estimated at $500-$1,500.
To discuss consigning any quality item of vintage pop culture memorabilia to a future Urban Culture Auctions sale, call 561-586-5500 or email email@example.com. Visit them online at www.urbancultureauctions.com.
All prices shown in this report are inclusive of a 30% buyer’s premium.
Image: Lot 52 - Karl Lagerfeld (German, 1933-2019), original drawing on card stock of elegant evening gown with feathery tiers and sleeve adornments.Sold for $2,860. Courtesy of Urban Culture Auctions, a division of Palm Beach Modern Auctions.