Bidders Battled Over Fashion Legend Karl Lagerfeld’s Personal Effects in the Second Sale of His Estate at Sotheby’s Paris

The fashion faithful chased Lagerfeld's drawings, signature gloves, and even a wastepaper basket by Jacques Adnet.

Karl Lagerfeld. Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage.

The second in the three-part sale of Karl Lagerfeld’s estate at Sotheby’s Paris closed on December 15 at a total of €4,391,876 ($4.9 million), with all but six of 714 lots unsold. The auctions of the late, legendary fashion designer’s collection are taking place in his three cities of residence—Monaco, Paris and coming up in Cologne—and include art, furniture, sketches and clothing. The first edition in Paris quadrupled expectations to earn $13.5 million; this brings the running total for the sale series to $18.4 million.

Lagerfeld, who died in 2019, revolutionized the brands he worked with, namely Fendi and Chanel, as well as running his own label, Karl. There have been plenty of takers for a scrap of fashion history in the sales, from drawings by the designer to items from his homes, including his bedsheets and even a wastepaper basket. Most lots jumped ahead of their estimates via advance bids made online; and collectors in the room, on the phone, and online battled it out for pieces that represented the designer’s instantly recognizable aesthetic, characterized by an opulent grandeur mixed with Minimalism and witty contemporary design.

Chanel Bag worn by Karl Largerfeld to FIAC 2010. Courtesy Sotheby's

Chanel bag worn by Karl Largerfeld to FIAC 2010. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Lagerfeld was a prodigious collector, and the sale opened on a Chanel bag with Lagerfeld’s 2010 Foire internationale d’art contemporain (FIAC) photo pass as a guest of Galerie Gmurzynska still attached, which rang up €94,500 ($107,000). It was followed by a series of huge prices realized for original drawings by Lagerfeld, including an illustration of a menu from Paris fashion hangout Café de Flore, which sold for €94,500 ($107,000), and another, Anna et Jacques au Louvre (1985), sold for €50,400 ($57,000).

Velvet Saint Laurent Jacket and leather gloves. Courtesy Sotheby's

Velvet Saint Laurent jacket and leather gloves. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Hundreds of lots were up for sale, including stylish furnishings recognizable from images of the designer published over the years as well as more personal items. The top lot was an ornate, canopied Louis XVI daybed, sold for €264,600 ($268,700). Even the designer’s Jacques Adnet wastepaper basket sold for €3,528 ($4,000).

“Collectors, fashionistas, and longstanding admirers of Karl Lagerfeld’s unique legacy and style came together this weekend, physically and virtually, to express their appreciation for one of the world’s greatest designers,” said Pierre Mothes, vice president of Sotheby’s France, after the first sale.


Marc Newson ladder. Courtesy Sotheby's

Marc Newson ladder. Courtesy of Sotheby’s.

Bidders were most interested in key sketches by the designer and items that exemplified his taste, such as personalized Goyard luggage, monogrammed Smythson jewelry boxes, jackets and blazers from Martin Margiela, Dior Homme, and Saint Laurent—and, of course, his trademark leather gloves, which were parceled off in several lots, the priciest of which fetched €45,880 ($52,000).

The final auction will take place in Lagerfeld’s hometown of Cologne in March 2022.

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