Fashion Legend André Leon Talley’s Treasures Smashed Estimates at Christie’s, Fetching Nearly $1.4 Million
The auction offered a glimpse into the icon's glamorous life and social swirl, including Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld.
The highly anticipated André Leon Talley auction decimated expectations at Christie’s today—a smash hit for the pioneering fashion editor, writer, and bon vivant, who had stints working with Andy Warhol, Anna Wintour, and Diana Vreeland. The dashing and grandiose Talley, who died in January 2022, was the first Black male creative director of Vogue. He was known for his impeccable wit and sharp point of view, as well as his custom designer caftans.
The $702,200 to $1.04 million pre-sale estimate for The Collection of André Leon Talley was already broken with only a portion of lots sold (prices include Christie’s fees; estimates don’t). The 68 lots that comprised the live component of the sale were estimated at a high of $455,900 but garnered over $1.38 million. The remaining 350 lots are part of the online sale running through February 16.
On offer was memorabilia that merged Talley’s personal and professional lives, as well as highlighted his fine-tuned aesthetic. The top lot was Warhol’s depiction of Vreeland—the famous Vogue editor and Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute special consultant—astride a steed. That work, Diana Vreeland Rampant (after Jacques Louis David, Napoleon at St. Bernard), was estimated to fetch $30,000–$50,000, but realized $94,500.
Warhol’s valentine on canvas, Candy Box (True Love), personalized to Talley in 1984, sold for $94,500—below the $150,000–$250,000 estimate but enough to merit a tie with Vreeland as Napoleon Bonaparte.
Other big ticket items were Louis Vuitton luggage. Talley’s trio of monogrammed suitcases, again, went for $94,500. A pair of non-functional Stephen Sprouse “graffiti” suitcases made just for the runway sold for $69,300, well above the $4,000–$5,000 estimate.
Also on hand were portraits by Talley’s well-known intimates. A pair of Karl Lagerfeld illustrations went for $32,760 each, tromping the $1,200 maximum estimate. Helmut Newton’s dashing image of the “kaiser of fashion” sporting a monocle, taken in 1973, sold for $20,160 against an estimate of $2,000–$3,000. Horst P. Horst’s famous 1979 image of Vreeland reclining in her crimson abode fetched $32,700, almost 10 times its $3,000 maximum estimate.
Talley’s flowing garb, too, racked up big numbers. His red Norma Kamali ‘Sleeping Bag’ coat has been making the news cycle as apparent inspiration for Rihanna’s gargantuan Azzedine Alaïa number at this week’s Super Bowl. Talley’s puffer was estimated at $500–$800 but sold for $25,200.
A navy Chanel silk cape fetched $20,160 (estimate $3,000–$5,000) and a gold brocade Dapper Dan caftan went for $16,380 (estimate $1,000–$2,000).
Proceeds from the live and online auctions will benefit the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
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