The Singular Auction of Andre Leon Talley


A visit to the auction preview for The Collection of Andre Leon Talley, held at Christie’s, feels as comprehensive and high calibre as a museum exhibition. While the live auction will take place in New York on February 15th (with the online portion running from January 27th through February 16th), a selection of highlights have travelled to Paris, just as the Haute Couture shows kicked off. The legendary fashion editor, who died last year, favoured creations from the finest Maisons – Chanel, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Christian Lacroix – through the 1980s and ’90s. From flamboyant, elaborately embellished dresses to looks that were beautifully sophisticated and subdued, the collection captures his insatiable love of exceptional fashion. But the preview also includes several of his own garments – including the custom kimono designed by Tom Ford which ALT wore upon receiving the Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2013 (see the photograph of him by Jonathan Becker on the Pont Alexandre III) and a puffy Norma Kamali frock coat that he often wore to fashion shows. There are several pieces of personalised Louis Vuitton luggage; a wine-tinted Birkin Bag sized XXL; rare Chanel lifestyle items such as a quilted hot water bottle holder; chunky baubles; charming drawings by Lagerfeld; and a portrait by Kim Cole Moore in which he appears as noble and ceremonial as any 18th century royal. Thanks to a scenography by Aline Asmar D’Amman, whose recent projects have included the Karl Lagerfeld suite at the Hôtel de Crillon and the Jules Verne restaurant at the Eiffel Tower, all these extraordinary pieces are given a grand yet tasteful stage that ALT would have. Here, Camille de Foresta, a specialist and auctioneer at Christie’s, shares additional insight on what makes ALT’s collection so unique.