Paris Fashion Week runways aim to highlight the styles of the future, but the upcoming Christie’s auction is dedicated to looks from the past.
The online sale, which will take place from January 11 to 25, includes 114 haute couture pieces by some of the most prolific designers of the 20th century. Think Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld and Hubert de Givenchy, to name a few.
The VWS collection was assembled by a family fleeing persecution by the Russian Imperial Empire in the early 1900s. VWS are the initials of the family patriarch, who traveled from Russia to China and France, collecting art, fashion and decorative objects along the way.
Dating mainly from the 1970s, 80s and 90s, the couture at the Fashion Week sale highlights the skill and savoir faire of various fashion greats. The collection includes cocktail dresses, suits and embroidered garments that promise plenty of colour, elegance and drama.
Take, for example, an ’80s purple velvet Chanel dress completely covered in pearls (high estimate: $6,449/€6,000) or an Yves Saint Laurent jacket embellished with sequins, gemstones, and gold leather (high estimate: $5,374/€ 5000) There are also more muted pieces, such as Hubert de Givenchy’s black velvet ensemble dating from 1979 and paying homage to Elsa Schiaparelli (high estimate: $1,289/€1,200).
Prices range from $425 (€400) to $4,250 (€4,000) per piece, but the items could go for more. In fact, two pieces from the VWS collection have already fetched impressive figures at Christie’s Exceptional Sale in December: a Chanel coat and skirt from 1996-97. reached more than 10 times their pre-sale high estimate and sold for nearly $300,000 (€277,200), while a 1988 Yves Saint Laurent Jacket and Skirt achieved six times their estimate and sold for just over $162,000 (€151,200 euros).
The collection will be exhibited in Paris from January 19 to 25. Christie’s says 5 percent of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Arts Décoratifs Museum in Paris.
Then consider it couture for a good cause.