Fashion through the ages presented at Kerry Taylor Auctions Dec. 10

Fashion through the ages

Elsa Schiaparelli couture Hall of Mirrors jacket and matching dress, 1938-39. Estimate £50,000-£70,000. Kerry Taylor Auctions image

LONDON – Kerry Taylor Auctions will present antique and museum-quality fashion as well as luxury designer wear and accessories in a sale to be held on Monday, Dec. 10. Absentee and Internet live bidding is available through LiveAuctioneers.

Fashion ranges from sumptuous 18th-century brocade gowns to the finest haute couture from every decade of the 20th century, including a belle epoque masterpiece by Maison Worth, a peacock-feather embroidered satin gown (lot 38).

Kerry Taylor’s star couture lot is undoubtedly the Schiaparelli “Hall of Mirrors” ensemble from Autumn-Winter 1938-39, Zodiac collection (above). The elaborately embellished jacket, which comes complete with matching dress, was acquired by a stylish British shop girl who married well and was a fan of Wallis Simpson’s style and wardrobe, which no doubt influenced this purchase. Slightly earlier, but equally rare is Schiaparelli’s Telephone Dial compact for which she collaborated with Salvador Dali in 1935 (lot 69).

Glamorous couture of the golden age is exemplified by Hubert de Givenchy’s pink shantung silk and beaded evening ensemble, SS 1963 (lot 90). This is quintessential Givenchy couture at its best, with lashings of embroidery, while remaining elegantly understated. No doubt it was much admired when its beautiful owner wore it for a cruise on the SS France in 1963.

The auction includes 1950s couture by Dior, Balmain and Balenciaga.

From the 1960s there’s a rare Paco Rabanne armor dress (below) and another in purple leather of 1967 (lots 102 and 104); also a rare Pierre Cardin men’s knitted wool jumpsuit (lot 107) and a couture sequined mini dress by Courrèges (lot 106).

Fashion through the ages

Paco Rabanne ‘armor’ dress, 1967,  with square matt aluminum platelets linked by chains. Estimate: £20,000-£30,000. Kerry Taylor Auctions image

From the 1970s, the auction presents Saint Laurent’s couture ‘Le Smoking’ shorts ensemble as well as evening wear by groovy London designers such as Zandra Rhodes, Thea Porter, Bill Gibb and Ossie Clark.

The 1980s includes a complete Westwood/McLaren “Hobo” collection Matisse toga dress and accessories (lot 153) as well as John Galliano’s recently rediscovered showpiece yellow wool coat from AW 89-90 (lot 159).

During the 1990s, no-one did glamour or bling better than Gianni Versace and the auction include early Oroton pieces as well as lavishly beaded evening wear – such as the Sea-shell dress used for the SS 1992 marketing campaign (below) as well as the red cocktail dress from his first couture collection, shown in Paris at the Ritz hotel, SS 1990 (lot 194).

Fashion through the ages

Gianni Versace printed silk and beaded ‘Sea Shell’ dress, Spring-Summer, 1992. Estimate £3,000-£5,000. Kerry Taylor Auctions image

The 2000s are well represented by Alexander McQueen including an iconic tartan highland-inspired dress from his Widows of Culloden collection, AW 2006-7 (lot 206) and the more abstract black Aran knit “tyre” dress from Horn of Plenty, AW 2009 (below).

Fashion through the ages

Alexander McQueen knitted evening dress, Autumn-Winter, 2009. Estimate: £6,000-£10,000. Kerry Taylor Auctions image

The Royalty section includes three rare 1870s mourning bodices worn by Queen Victoria, with associated letters, which originally belonged to her Page of the Back Stairs, Mr. Searle.

Also included are letters, Christmas cards and fashion sketches from the Victor Edelstein archive that relate to his designs for Princess Diana as well as for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (lots 229-248).

In 1994, two Princess Diana garments were purchased from a second-hand shop in Hereford, having been taken there by a housekeeper working for one of Diana’s close friends. These consist of a Chelsea Design Co. smart navy wool blazer with gilt buttons, worn as part of her off-duty wardrobe (lot 249); as well as the highly formal and beautiful Emanuel evening gown the princess wore on an official visit to Bahrain in 1986 (below). The woman who bought it thought she might wear it to a local hunt ball, but in the end she decided it was a bit too grand. It was only in recent years while watching a documentary on the princess that she recognized the gown and rediscovered it, carefully folded away in a box in the bottom of her wardrobe.

Fashion through the ages

Princess Diana’s fine Emanuel evening gown, worn for an official visit to Bahrain, Nov. 16, 1986. Estimate: £60,000-£100,000. Kerry Taylor Auctions image

For details phone Kerry Taylor Auctions at +44 [0] 20 8676 4600 or email