Monika Gottlieb photographed in 2021
The Monika Gottlieb Collection opens our inaugural Paris fashion auction chez Maurice. If you browse a rail of Monika’s collection, the first things to strike you are the vibrant blocks of colour, the shimmer and sparkle of metallic fabrics and the kaleidoscopic prints of Pucci and Roberta di Camerino.
Monika photographed with Kerry Taylor and some of her collection on display, 2014.
Fashion is in Monika’s blood. She grew up in Düsseldorf where her family owned a luxury accessories business for 70 years. They launched Celine’s first boutique outside of Paris there. From a tender age she learned to appreciate the quality of leather goods, fine and costume jewellery: ‘As a young girl I saw all the elegant ladies that inspired me to collect fashion jewellery and handbags. Even aged just 3 years old I never left home without hat and bag.’
Above: Monika as a fashionable young girl in Düsseldorf, late1940s-early 1950s. Below: a chic look for winter, 1951
One of the earliest memories from her childhood is being introduced to Monsieur Christian Dior in 1953 during his visit to Düsseldorf. Part of his visit included a presentation of Dior’s latest re-fillable lipsticks. Monika recalls that the best-selling shade in her family’s business that year was: ‘No.5!’.
Pictured left: Monika’s mother photographed with Monsieur Christian Dior in Düsseldorf, 1953. Right: like mother like daughter, Monika and her mother photographed circa 1949.
As a young woman in the ‘swinging sixties’, she wore the prevailing minimal or psychedelic styles of the decade. A Pucci printed and beaded top she purchased to wear in the late 1960s is now considered a prized vintage collectible (lot 289). From the 1990s on, her pursuit of vintage fashion burgeoned, leading her to be a familiar and popular face at all the major fashion auctions of Europe.
Monika photographed in Celine & Dior fashions during the 1970s. Pictured centre: Lot 289, Pucci sequinned bodice, estimate €400-600.
Monika is not afraid of colour and says she ‘feels uncomfortable in black’. To this day when Monika enters a room all heads swivel to see what fabulous combination she is wearing. It could typically be magenta with yellow - or green with purple. She is particularly fond of green and declares that lot 359, a coat by Dior, is her favourite piece in the sale. An emerald-green the Christian Dior haute couture gown designed by Saint Laurent, S/S 1959 (lot 348), looks wonderful when accessorised with the Chanel cabochon green stone demi-parure (lot 336).
Monika with her collection. She is photographed wearing a Chanel jacket (Lot 231, estimate €500-800), and her personal favourite item in the sale: a Dior emerald-green satin evening coat, 1960s (Lot 359, estimate €350-500).
Pictured left to right: a pair of Dior by Roger Vivier shoes,1959 (Lot 359A, estimate €1,500-2,000), a Christian Dior satin evening coat, (Lot 359, estimate €350-500), and a Dior by Yves Saint Laurent cocktail dress, Spring-Summer 1959 (Lot 348, estimate €5,000-9,000)
Monika’s interest in fashion extends far beyond just clothes and includes accessories by Chanel, Hermès, Vuitton, as well as flamboyant costume jewellery, perfume bottles, dolls, illustrations and sketches by Manolo Blahnik, Pierre Cardin and others, with her love of colour and sparkle evident throughout!
A small selection of the fabulous array of fine costume jewellery and luxury accessories included in the sale.
Although many of the clothes within the collection can be described as ‘museum’ quality, they were ostensibly selected by Monika for their wearability. The designer labels are less important to her than their ‘wow’ factor- she believes that fashion should spark joy!
Pictured left: a Pierre Cardin ‘carwash’ dress, Spring-Summer 1970 (Lot 308, estimate €1,000-1,500) & a Christian Lacroix couture coat, Autumn-Winter 2002-03 (Lot 297, estimate €1,500-2,500). Right: Monika wears a Givenchy couture evening ensemble, Spring-Summer 1972 (Lot 285, estimate €800-1,200).
She is interested not just in the objects but the history behind them. Lot 238 is a simple paper fan, autographed by the great Hubert de Givenchy. Ever the considerate, consummate gentleman, these fans were handed out to his VIP clients during one particularly stifling Paris show.
Pictured left: Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy. Right: a paper fan signed by the great couturier (Lot 238, estimate €400-600)
Much like the woman herself, Monika’s collection is fun. Her love of the unique, the beautiful, the whimsical in fashion is self-evident throughout. It is her hope that these cherished pieces kept in storage these last years will now find new homes and come to life again when worn by their new owners or admired behind glass in museums.
In the meantime, Monika continues to live her life with a certain ‘Joie de vivre’ for which she (and her collection) are so greatly admired !
The catalogue for this sale is now online and available to view here.
For more information regarding bidding, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The exhibition and sale will be held at “We are”, 73, rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré 75008 Paris.