The sale of the Daphne Guinness Collection has proven that the art market appears immune from the financial collapse that the rest of the world is steadily creeping towards. Auction houses around London and the UK are exceeding and setting global records across the contemporary art spectrum.
The irrepressible Christie’s has achieved record sales again with a figure of £476,800, at their latest evening auction of the Daphne Guinness Collection which benefited the Isabella Blow foundation, a charitable cause which was founded to support the emergence of new fashion talent. The charity was created in memory by Guinness for Blow following her death in 2007.
The pre-sale estimates for the evening were modest, a mere £100,000 was expected although the evening proved to collect a staggering amount more in sales. There were 102 lots on offer which included a range of personal pieces belonging to Guinness. Among the jumpers, jackets and other wardrobe regulars were Guinness’ signature shoes as well an important collection of photographs, an additional highlight of the evening.
It was a photograph which took the top sale of the event. Particularly a photo of Guinness by British Vogue photographer Mario Testino. The photograph featured Guinness in the March 2008 issue which show her heavily surrounded by a great deal of carelessly thrown fabrics that embrace her form laden with jewels and rings that would make any queen envious. The sale realized £133,250 which is a world record for the photographer who had previously set a record (£46,100) sale for a photo featuring Diana Princess of Wales that was taken for Vanity Fair and sold in November 2007. It is a major accomplishment for Testino as well as for Christie’s in general. The top sale for a dress that evening went to an Alexander McQueen design called The Girl Who Lived In The Tree, reaching a top price of £85,250. Two other McQueen dresses sold on the evening of the 27 and set record sale prices as well.
Record sales do not only mean corporate gains. Because the auction was in support of the Isabella Blow foundation the proceeds will go in large to help support up and coming talent in the fashion industry. The focus of the foundation is to encourage collaboration and a greater understanding of worlds where art and fashion mix. This is a very difficult territory for a young designer to develop a career as the combination to a great deal of corporations seems unmarketable. Many of the pieces that went to the auction were direct from Guinness. A few came directly from designers which included Prada, Gucci and Lacroix among others. Lady Gaga was a contributor to the evening sales although what she walked away with at the end of the evening is still unclear. Guinness publicly stated her admiration for Gaga and praised her support for a cause which aims to help young designers and those starting out in the fashion world.
Christie’s was delighted with a very successful event that raised awareness about the charity and produced more record breaking figures for the company. Pat Frost the Director of Fashion, Textiles at Christie’s stated that the evening was all about the individualism of Guinness and her ability to bring together so many personalities across global corporations and organizations. She actualized fashion designers and icons to create a bidding frenzy that helped set records sales on a myriad of different items. Christie’s is attempting to stay one step ahead of every other auction house, and they are doing it quite successfully. They want cutting-edge designers and hope that their Vintage Couture sales in November will keep the momentum going.
Daphne Guinness created an evening to remember bringing together some of the biggest organizations and people that are working the fashion industry at the moment. The sales of individual pieces from her collection set record sales time after time for the designers and artists who were incorporated, and produced a very positive image for the foundation she create in memory for her mentor Isabella Blow. The sale of the lots are very impressive and continue to polish Christie’s prestigious platform yet at the heart of the event was the desire to foster innovative talent in the fashion world that looks to develop a closer relationship with the fine art realm.
Words by: Portia Pettersen Copyright Artlyst 2012