Sotheby’s Auction of the Karl Lagerfeld’s Estate
His signature look was his white hair, black sunglasses, fingerless gloves and highly starched detachable collars. Even two years after his death, Karl Lagerfeld’s name remains synonymous with the world of high fashion, over which he ruled during his days as the creative director at both Chanel and Fendi. In essence, Lagerfeld was a genius couturier who, in a half-century, had become an intergenerational rock star. He knew how to create a high-end brand out of his name and his distinctive style. He also mastered the art of reinventing himself and his look throughout his glorious career.
This past weekend, the first part of Lagerfeld’s estate sale was held live and online in Monaco. One hundred per cent of the items auctioned were sold. This easily surpassed its pre-sale estimate of 2.3 million euros. Offered up were 582 lots representing a variety of his personal taste, spanning everything from design and fine art to sketches, signature clothing and much more. Before sales even started, approximately 1,500 potential bidders from a record 58 countries had registered their interest in the auction.
Pierre Mothes, vice president of Sotheby’s France, stated, “Collectors, fashionistas and long-standing admirers of Karl Lagerfeld’s unique legacy and style came together this weekend, physically and virtually, to express their appreciation for one of the world’s greatest designers. There was an electric atmosphere for this incredible first sale, which saw explosive bidding, with buyers fighting hard for everything from Karl’s drawings, to the art he chose to surround himself with, as well as many of his personal belongings.”
The estate sale brought in a total of 12 million euros, which is four times its pre-sale estimate. All the items were sold in lots, and 96% of those lots sold at more than the high estimate. Plus, one-third of the bidders and buyers were new to Sotheby’s.
Other highlights included three Rolls Royce vehicles for €369,450 ($415,398.50) to €436,000 ($490,225) each, a sculpture of Lagerfeld’s beloved cat, Choupette, for €20,160 ($22,667), a portrait of Lagerfeld by fellow designer Gianni Versace for €94,500 ($106,252), another portrait of Lagerfeld by Takashi Murakami for €289,800 ($325,842) and a lot of five Chanel fingerless gloves for €47,880 ($53,834).
Items such as Yves Saint Laurent jackets, Dior and Goyard luggage, a Jeff Koons sculpture, chandeliers, silverware, chairs, tables, a piano and lamps all brought in thousands of dollars each.
Several designer jackets were up for grabs, including a Dior Homme Black Wool and Multi-Colored Stitching Jacket that sold for €65,520 ($73,767) and another Dior Homme jacket that sold for €44,100 ($49,650). Both were expected to bring in only a few thousand.
The auction was just the first of three. The second is set to run, with an online sale from December 6 to December 16, 2021, and then with live auctions in Paris on December 14 and 15, 2021.
A third auction is scheduled to take place in Cologne, Germany.
Lagerfeld once admitted, “I find the joy of collecting, the fun of hunting for objects the exciting thing — but once I win it, I lose interest. I don’t want to be a curator living in a museum.”