On Tuesday, the second live sale in a three-part auction series devoted to the estate of the late German designer Karl Lagerfeld generated €4.4 million ($4.9 million) at Sotheby’s in Paris. That sale brought the series’ total to $18.4 million, with the final sale still to place in Cologne, Germany, in March 2022.
More than 1,000 bidders registered for the first sale in Monaco, which took place earlier this month. At that auction, nearly 600 objects, including original illustrations, personal effects, midcentury decor, and artworks by Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, brought in $13.3 million. It was estimated to bring in just €3 million ($3.4 million).
It’s no surprise that any event carrying Lagerfeld’s name would draw such attention. Pierre Mothes, Sotheby’s France vice president, said that the first sale saw “an electric atmosphere,” with by buyers battling it out for clothing by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme, among other things. Known for revolutionizing Chanel, Lagerfeld died of natural causes in February 2019.
Despite the recent rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the U.S., Europe, and elsewhere, the latest live sale in Paris continued the first one’s momentum, outpacing expectations once again and drawing spirited bidding.
The sale opened with a black Chanel lambskin bag. Affixed to it was a guest pass from the 2010 edition of France’s premier art fair, FIAC. It sold for €94,500 ($107,000), setting an auction record for a Chanel bag. Offered as one lot, a group of five pairs of Chanel fingerless leather gloves hammered for a price of €48,260 ($55,000). An embellished 2008 Dior Homme jacket estimated at €1,000 sold for €35,280 ($40,000).
Across both in-person auctions, Lagerfeld’s illustrations also generated a frenzy among collectors. His rendering of a menu from Paris’s Café de Flore sold for €94,500 ($107,000), while another depicting three women, titled Les trois muses Ines, Anna et Vicky, sold for €203,200 ($230,00), far surpassing its €1,000 ($1,100), estimate. An undated portrait of the late Chanel designer by Gianni Versace, another one of fashion’s heavyweights, sold for €95,250 ($107,000), more than 300 times the estimate of €300 ($340).
Auctions like the Lagerfeld estate sales, which peer into the personal lives of behemoth tastemakers, have long drawn fanfare beyond the art market. Similar sales dedicated to the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, Jackie Kennedy, and Elizabeth Taylor in decades past have likewise drawn a lot of attention.