The colour pink has been worn and adored for centuries, and our December sale is full of examples of this flirtatious colour; ranging from 18th century knitted silk stockings (possibly for a gentleman- Lot 39, estimate £1000-1500) in bright salmon pink, to Wallis Simpson’s chiffon nightdress in a seductive rose shade (Lot 84, estimate £400-600).
Later to become the Duchess of Windsor- she was undeniably one of the most stylish women of the 20th century. Indeed it was this innate sense of style that first drew her to the attention of HRH. Edward, Prince of Wales, who famously abdicated the English throne so he could marry the alluring American. The pale rose-pink chiffon nightdress, late 1940s-mid 1950s, trimmed with black Chantilly lace and still with the faint scent of a perfume, oozes the luxurious glamour of the Duchess.
Of course our selection of pink fashion-delights would not be complete without Schiaparelli. The designer loved the colour so much that ‘shocking pink’ became her signature shade. Lot 85 is a rare Schiaparelli pink damask evening coat adorned with silk lattice toggles edged in gold cord. In 1944, with the liberation of Paris, Schiaparelli called in Marlene Dietrich for a photo-shoot in the Paris salon to announce its full re-opening. Although the fashion business had limped along during the war years due to the effort of her loyal staff, Schiaparelli herself sat out the war years in the USA.
Marlene Dietrich was a major Schiaparelli client and in November 1944 she was busily inspecting and cheering up the Allied troops on a morale boosting of Italy and North Africa. For this important re-opening of the fashion house, Marlene agreed to pose in the salon for the eminent fashion photographer Lee Miller and an identical model to the one we are selling was chosen for the shoot. Of soft rose-pink damask it has an almost boudoir/negligee like feel. After all the hardships of war, with shirred bodice and cuffs edged in gilt thread and floss silk ropes and tassels, it must have felt cossetting as well as luxurious. Marlene was also photographed by the world’s press wearing the coat over a floral dress whilst inspecting some soldier’s legs!