Schiaparelli’s personal collection to be auctioned Thursday in Paris

Various objets, paintings, portraits and more up for sale in the Schiaparelli auction at Christie’s Paris, 23 January 2014.  *Full descriptions available below.

Marisa Schiaparelli Berenson – the glamorous former model, actress and granddaughter of Elsa Schiaparelli – has elected to part ways with the material effects of her celebrated designer-grandmother via a landmark auction at Christie’s Paris on Thursday, January 23rd.  It is a timely choice indeed, considering Marco Zanini’s inaugural collection for the relaunched maison kicked off Paris S/S 14 Haute Couture Fashion week earlier today as the buzz surrounding the Schiaparelli name continues to gain momentum.  This is no mere sale of 20th century apparel, however – the auction’s items offer unique insight into Schiaparelli herself and the wide-ranging personal taste that is evident in her various objets d’art, paintings, and furniture.

Apart from a few seminal Schiaparelli-branded pieces – blouses, boleros and jackets in her signature whimsical embellishments – the garments and accessories up for auction fall largely into two categories: various fur jackets, stoles, and accessories, and many exotic lounging clothes in the form of informal ladies’ jackets, kimonos, pajamas and tunics from China, Tunisia and Turkey – purportedly Schiaparelli’s preferred garments of choice whilst at home or out for the evening. Turn of the century lithographs, illustrations and portraits by her various friends and collaborators from Man Ray to Marcel Vertès, Christian Bérard and more feature alongside furniture and objects both charming and strange, much like the designer herself.

The most compelling lot up for auction is also probably the least visually appealing of the catalogue: Lot 154, a collection of 40 muslin toile patterns complete with paper tags bearing the atelier + model name, fabric sample, tailor’s markings and instructions, with a few sewn dress patterns fully constructed. Estimated to go for €10,000 – €12,000, the secrets and construction details surely contained within are enough to send any fashion historian or amateur Schiaparelli fan’s head spinning.  We’re betting it will go for much more, much like the F/W 1938-39 “Zodiac” jacket from Schiaparelli’s Astrology collection that went for £110,000 in December 2013 via Kerry Taylor Auctions, following an estimated bid of £40,000-60,000.

Lot 154

While the total sale is estimated to bring in €800,000 (about $1.1 million), it will hardly be a surprise if it breaks €1 million.  The full catalogue is viewable online in the meantime and hard copies are also available for purchase.  Below, a très Schiap look from today’s runway show, as well as lot descriptions for the header image.

Schiaparelli S/S 14 Haute Couture by Marco Zanini  

*Clockwise from left: Lots 24 & 25, “Portrait(s) of Elsa Schiaparelli,” Man Ray, circa 1931; Lot 33, Andre of New York jacket in sea lion and arctic fox, 1960s;  Lot 49, “Portrait of Gogo Schiaparelli,” Leonor Fini, 1936; Lot 130, Pastel pink coat with gold trousers, circa 1930; Lot 173, Pair of Leopard-skin gloves, probably Schiaparelli, circa 1930; Lot 94, Pair of carved marble leopard models, probably Italian, 20th century; Lot 55, Portrait of “Elsa Schiaparelli in a chair,” attributed to Maurice Van Moppes; Lots 64-66, various informal lady’s jackets from China, 20th century; Lot 74, Painted and toile birdcage, 20th century; Lot 50, Suite of three Louis XVI tapestries, last quarter of 18th century; Lot 9, Meridienne-en-confident in the style of Napoleon III; Lot 80; Screen with characters from the Commedia dell’Arte, Marcel Vertès.

– Kelly R. Miller

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