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We have saved the best until last. For our final auction of the year, we are delighted to present this superb array of spectacular fashion. One of the highlights without doubt is the Givenchy haute couture ball gown screen-worn by the incomparable Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film ‘Love in the Afternoon’ (lot 79). The 20.5in waist is perfectly accentuated by a pretty, pale-blue bow and layer upon layer of white silk point d'esprit - it is truly a dress of dreams. And if Hollywood royalty isn’t quite your cup of tea, then you may be enticed by another film-worn costume in this sale: the ‘Roman’ tunic worn by Kenneth Williams for his leading role as Julius Caesar in ‘Carry On Cleo’, 1964, in which he utters those immortal words: ‘Infamy, Infamy- they’ve all got it in for me!’ (lot 103).
At the heart of this sale - as always - is haute couture and this does not disappoint. We are honoured to introduce yet more treasures from the legendary Sandy Schreier collection, including superb museum quality Balenciagas from the 1940s to 60s (lots 71, 73, 76 and 88), a fabulous sequined Paul Poiret evening gown, circa 1928, that looks as though it was made yesterday (lot 64) and a very early Alix Barton (Madame Grès) draped jersey gown, circa 1936 (lot 67), to name just a few.
Lot 218 is a Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel gold embroidered 'leopard' dress, Spring-Summer 1996. Smothered in gold sequins and embroidered with running leopard motifs formed from gold and black beads, at the time of commission, it was reputedly the most expensive couture gown in history - costing $200,000, the Lesage embroidery alone having taken 1280 hours. Also featured are fine examples from John Galliano’s tenure at Christian Dior, including a magnificent ensemble from his 'Madame Butterfly' collection, Spring-Summer 2007 (lot 246). And from Yves Saint Laurent’s time at the house, we have the coral silk-faille evening gown, model 'Rose de Feu', Spring-Summer 1959, once worn by leading Argentine model Kouka Denis, one of the top mannequins for the house of Dior during the late 1950s and 60s (lot 84).
Keeping with the theme of Galliano, we include sketches he drew as a young student for his ‘Incroyables’ degree show at St Martins in 1984 (lot 167) as well as rare early London labelled examples from the 1980s and show pieces from the early 90s (lots 168-173, 207-210).
For our 80s lovers, we have a fun-filled selection of eye-catching fashion from this heady decade: lot 176 is a rare Issey Miyake breastplate from his Autumn/Winter 1980-81 collection, still with its original ‘Miyake’ shop sticker to the underside. Lot 155A is the Judith Frankland hat worn by Steve Strange in David Bowie’s ground-breaking music video for his single ‘Ashes to Ashes’, 1980. Other ‘greatest hits’ from this decade include designs by Kenzo, Body Map and Vivienne Westwood, including a complete ‘Pirate’ ensemble from the Autumn-Winter 1981-82 collection (lot 156).
We continue to delight the boys with our selection of jaw-dropping menswear. From the earlier centuries we have a fine gentleman’s banyan, circa 1830 and constructed from reused 18th-century dress silk (lot 37). This piece is perfectly complimented by dandy fashions of the 60s such as lot 104, the Brent & Collins for Take 6 men's jacket and lot 105, the rare John Stephen of Carnaby Street men's William Morris print jacket, circa 1967 - both cut from floral upholstery fabric. From more recent decades we have eye-catching designs by John Richmond and Vivienne Westwood from the wardrobe of John Cowell.
It would not be Christmas without a few stocking fillers, and this sale is full to the brim with covetable gifts, including the finest examples of vintage costume jewellery by Dior, Chanel and Coppola e Toppo; luxury handbags, accessories by Westwood and wearable, joy-giving fashion by the likes of Biba, Thea Porter, Ossie Clark, and many more.
Wishing you all a merry festive season, and happy bidding!
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