I LOVE watching a high profile auction, perusing the catalogs, reading the stories behind the items. You never forget one of these big events. Looking back, I think of the estates of Bunny Mellon, Lee Radziwell, Princess Diana’s ball gowns…
Whether you plan to bid, visit the preview at the auction house or simply get a copy of the catalog to peruse and feel close to the stories, these are major events and major capsules into fabulous lives and times past.
Andre Leon Talley was THE voice in fashion for decades. His larger than life persona defied expectation and forever changed the landscape of journalism and fashion.
The Collection of Andre Leon Talley will be sold in a live sale at Christie’s on February 15, 2023, with an online sale that is ongoing until February 16. The collection is so hot that a selection of pieces have been on global tour from Palm Beach to Paris.
Having combed through the auction lots, there are some overarching themes of items within the collection that I think are particularly special.
1. ALT’s intimate relationship with Diana Vreeland. The photos of Vreeland in this collection are rare gems. Diana Vreeland was THE voice of fashion, art, culture. She famously said, “There’s only one very good life, and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.”
I feel like Vreeland memorabilia is rare on the market, so take a good gander.
This Horst P. Horst photo of Vreeland, 1979. Lot 3
Illustrated note by Christian Berard to Diana Vreeland. Lot 148.
Jonathan Becker photo of D.V., 1979. Lot 146. My god, look at those embroidered heart pillows! And the miniature busts in the background. The way old film carries the saturation of this vibrant red is THRILLING.
Diana Vreeland Rampart, Andy Warhol 1984. Lot 6. I mean, this is thrilling.
Les Chaussures de Diana Vreeland, photo by Deborah Turberville 1981. Lot 459. There are a few photographs of feet, which I think is really niche and special.
2. THE BAGS AND SMALL EPHEMERA. I mean, this is really what I personally look for in estates. How did we lug things around? And what little objets and creature comforts sat on our tabletops or draped across the back of a chair?
Here are my picks:
Prada Steamer Trunk, circa 2000. Lot 345. I love this as a relic of ALT— like who has traveled with steamer trunks since 1965?? ANDRE LEON TALLEY. And why bother with the ubiquitous Louis Vuitton or vintage Goyard? Of course he would have PRADA. And of course it’s chic AF. It’s the gold hardware for me. I would make this the coffee table in a small red and gold lacquered conversation area with a zebra rug. Sound 90s BDSMy? Okay, cool.
Circa 1998 rolling basket and train case Lot 354. This is one of my favorite lots in the whole sale. Maybe because I am apparently obsessed with that color red right now and also, I collect old baskets like they’re the greatest relic of our times.
This. Two LL Bean bags that you KNOW were some internal promotion thing from like, 1999. It’s so funny to me that ALT himself saved these! And they’re being auctioned at Christie’s, and the bid is already over $1k. I LIVE to find an old Bean tote at an estate sale. The canvas bag that NEVER DIES. This is so funny to me and so special and if I was going to throw around $2500 for a little laugh, I’d totally fight someone for these. Lot 387.
Lot 323. Hermès mohair throw blanket. It’s the only blanket in the sale. And I would 100% get this and cozy up with on a rainy or ho hum day, and feel fucking fabulous instead. Because who drapes themself in the Hermès blanket of Andre Leon Talley? Your own personal icon… YOURSELF. Be that person.
3. Really special art and illustrations.
Garrett Rittenberg portrait of James Baldwin. Lot 183.
Lot 9. An original Yves Saint Laurent collage. He made these for friends. This might be my top pick for all the whole auction.
Lot 215. Okay and maybe this is one of my favorites, too. Ruben and Isabel Toledo did this and it’s dated, inscribed and signed '4.8.2008 / To André Leon Talley / the other Gentleman / in my Life ...... / a kiss of Spring / for you! / Isabel Toledo / and much Love from Ruben too...' (on verso).
Okay, I could go on and on, but the auction ends in just a couple days, so go on! Register your number and have some fun.