BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Being timeless is a rare commodity in the world of fashion. No brand exemplifies that enduring power more than Chanel. On Dec. 2, Brigitte Kruse and GWS Auctions will offer at auction one of the largest personal collections of exclusive items from the House of Chanel and other exceptional luxury brands. The trendsetting auction house will again break new ground by combining a runway fashion show with the sale. Models will wear the pieces and the event will be streamed live so bidders from around the world can participate in this first ever runway fashion show auction. Absentee and Internet bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.
A portion of the collection comes from an extensive group of items owned by Mary Jean Thompson, who served as honorary consul of Liechtenstein. In addition to the extremely limited edition and one-of-a-kind Chanel pieces, from ready-to-wear to demi and haute couture, the auction will feature highly collectible Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton apparel; Valentino; fine and custom jewelry; new and mint-condition handbags in original boxes; as well as a bounty of accessories owned by Thompson and other prominent private sellers. The entire collection of prized new, rare and vintage designer items has a valuation of approximately $25 million dollars. GWS Auctions hopes to attract and encourage leading designers to create a more permanent space for auctions in the world of high-end, couture fashion.
Adding to the glitz and glamor, models will give the who’s who of the global fashion, diplomatic and celebrity worlds in attendance an up-close view of the singular pieces up for sale. Acting as the expert consultant is Sir Keith Holman, the acclaimed designer for Michael Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, who was one of the designers who came up with the King of Pop’s iconic diamond glove.
Legendary fashion creative director Warrent Satt, who has worked with Gigi Hadid, Bella Hadid, Adriana Lima, Janice Dickinson, Gia Carangi, Dior, Valentino and Gucci, is the event’s executive producer.
The live fashion show auction will take place at the Beverly Hills Design Institute and online from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST. Unlike some fashion auctions, 90 percent of the items have no reserve and will simply be sold to the highest bidders.
As Coco Chanel once famously said, “Fashion passes, style endures.” More than 108 years after its founding, we still the revere the hallmarks of the House of Chanel … the little black dress, the exquisitely tailored fluid gowns, the quilted bag, the signature scent. The Metropolitan Museum of Art recognized the historic importance of Chanel with its 2005 exhibit devoted to the label and a “design vocabulary that is both instantly distinguishable and instantly recognizable.”
Mary Jean Thompson’s private collection represents that sophisticated sense of style. As a cultural ambassador and influential interior designer, Thompson has been a fixture on the world social scene for more than four decades. She is selling approximately 120 items, dating from the ’80s to the present, with many of the pieces especially selected for her by stylists at boutiques and Neiman Marcus. The majority of outfits from Chanel, Dior and Gucci and other fabled design houses were worn only once at global diplomatic events, fundraisers and other social gatherings. Thompson will attend the auction to provide personal remembrances about the items in her collection.
Equally outstanding is the array of jewelry that will go on the auction block. It includes an 18K gold ring Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor, high-end watches by Patek Phillippe, Rolex and others, custom-made pieces by prestigious jewelers like Tiffany & Co., and of course diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds, plus some emerald and ruby items for good measure.
“We have kept it to limited editions from these specific luxury brands because they epitomize the ne plus ultra of fashion,” Kruse says. “From the vintage dresses that show up on red carpets to statement pieces designed for current fashion runways, they continue to be iconic examples of the cool yet chic attire that women—young and old—aspire to own. These status pieces have proved to be some of the best investments one can make over time.”