This autumn, Sotheby’s will bring to auction the collection of Karl Lagerfeld. Staged across Monaco, Paris, and Cologne the series of eight auctions, which will be offered later this year and the beginning of next, will bring the great late designer’s most personal collection to the market, from the art he lived with to the items in his wardrobe.
As surprising and multifaceted as the designer himself, the auctions will offer an anthology of his personal taste, with the more than one thousand lots encompassing fine art, design, fashion, and personal ephemera, illuminating the fashion titan’s life as a designer, decorator, photographer, and collector.
A quasi intergenerational rock star of the 2000s, Lagerfeld was a brand unto himself. Capturing the imagination of the fashion world with his distinctive look and inimitable presence, he continually rewrote the rulebook, allowing him to remain ever relevant and always at the forefront of his game. Artistic Director of Fendi from 1965, Chanel from 1983, and Chloé from 1991, before launching his own ready-to-wear house in the same year, the designer became the guiding figure of the luxury industry that he helped to build.
Lagerfeld was also an insatiable collector with an eclectic eye. In the 1980s, he opted for the fun, colourful design of the Memphis Group, tickled by its humour. He then turned to the French decorative arts of the 18th century, which he considered as an ideal of elegance and refinement. Throughout his life, he also had a passion for the Art Deco period that adorned his residences in Biarritz and Monaco, which he described as ‘the roots of modernity, the modernity that I am always looking for’.
During the last twenty years of his life, it was contemporary design by the likes of Mark Newson, Martin Szekely and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec that Lagerfeld acquired to create a new futuristic aesthetic in his homes. It was, however, the works of his favourite designers, Louis Süe and André Mare, to whom he remained faithful throughout his long collecting career, and to whose ethos ‘Evolution in Tradition’ he stayed true.
Of his many residences, Pavillon de Voisins in Louveciennes near Paris – the last home he purchased – has a somewhat unexpected aesthetic. Inspired by his German roots, the décor harks back to the grand designs of the turn of the 20th century and creations of 1920s Germany, notably featuring designs by fellow countrymen such as Bruno Paul, set alongside early 20th century German advertising posters which he had collected for over 30 years.
Further artists represented in this extraordinary collection are Marc Newson, Martin Szekely, Konstantin Grcic, Maarten Van Severen for contemporary design; Louis Süe and André Mare for Art Deco; Georges Lepape – a French fashion designer, poster artist, engraver and illustrator particularly representative of the 1930s, and Ludwig Hohlwein, one of the most prolific and inventive posters and graphic designers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The sale will also include Lagerfeld’s personal effects, all of the fine quality: the dishes of Choupette – the cat who shared the last eight years of the designer’s life; household linens; his three Rolls Royce cars; his emblematic fingerless leather gloves, which he consistently wore for 20 years – more than 200 pairs will be brought to auction; a selection of designer suit jackets by Dior, YSL, KL, Comme des garçons and Martin Margiela; as well as an astonishing number of Goyard suitcases.
Lagerfeld became his own brand, and his immediately recognisable look is represented in figurines by Tokidoki and Tiffany Cooper, as well as on Fendi keychains and iPhone cases.
3 – 5 December 2021
14 – 15 December 2021
Session I | 26 November – 6 December 2021
Session II | 6 – 16 December 2021