An auction of illustrations by the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has sold for almost triple the estimate at Sotheby’s in Paris.
The “white glove” sale – where all lots were sold – raised a total of €350,406 (£300,000), and featured an unprecedented assembly of Lagerfeld’s fashion sketches, taken from his apartments on 8 Rue des Saints-Pères and 17 Quai Voltaire.
The most expensive lot at the sale on Wednesday night was a colourful sketch for the French fashion house Chloé drawn in the early 1970s, which fetched €40,320. The oldest was a folder of 25 sketches from 1969, also for Chloé, which reached €32,760; its laminated pockets also contained photographs of models wearing the designs, and newspaper clippings of the collection.
“He was a man of paper,” said the auction’s curator, Caroline Lescure. “He kept everything – this was his archive.
“Lagerfeld was a fashion genius. He stayed so many years at Chloé and Chanel, and yet he always wanted to go further than the last thing he did. We can see that vision in his sketches.”
The auction was the fourth sale from Lagerfeld’s residences; the artworks spanned 40 years of his career, from 1969 until 2018. He died in February 2019.
From 1983 until his death the German fashion designer was the creative director of Chanel, and drove its modern revival, transforming the sleepy French house into a luxury behemoth.
Lagerfeld was also creative director of the Italian house Fendi, having come on board as a consultant director in 1967. After a year at Chanel he launched his own eponymous fashion label. For many decades he designed about 17 collections a year.
His absence is still sorely felt in fashion. This week, Suzy Menkes, the esteemed fashion editor reviewed Chanel’s couture show in an Instagram post, saying: “There are two words that have to be said about the Chanel couture show … Karl Lagerfeld.” Without his influence, she added, “the clothes seemed just plain dull”.
The proceeds of the sale will go to Lagerfeld’s estate.