This is one of the finest sales of haute couture and historic dress and Royal memorabilia ever to come onto the open market. I have scoured the globe to find rare, beautiful pieces to this end.
Our earliest garments are also the smallest – baby robes believed to have belonged to King Charles II which have been passed down generations of the same family (lot 26) – that of Margaret de Halsey, formerly a Lady in Waiting in the court of King Charles I, circa 1630. The clothes have been held by Museum of London collection since the late 1940s.
We have sumptuous brocaded eighteenth century dresses - the silks woven by craftsmen in Spitalfields and Lyon and looking as fresh as the day they were made.
Historically fascinating is a group of photographs, autographs, letters and jewelled Cartier cases relating to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (lots 201 to 207). Perhaps the most poignant piece in the collection is the guest book belonging to Herman and Katherine Rogers (close friends of the Windsor’s) which shows Wallis’ visits to their home from the 1920s onwards. Her signature changes as she moves through her first, second husbands and finally to her third – King Edward VIII who abdicated his crown to marry her thus becoming HRH the Duke of Windsor in consequence. The book was also used to record the guests at the Windsor’s wedding – a meagre 28 names including the couple themselves. The ‘Hunting Lord of the Isles’ tartan suit made for the Duke in 1951 (lot 199) reflects his daring sense of colour and style and confirms why he is regarded as one of the great British ‘Dandies’.
Continuing the Royal theme we have two dresses worn by Princess Diana - a Catherine Walker sea-green sequined evening gown, worn for the State visit to Austria in 1986 (lot 210) and an Emanuel teal-blue tartan ensemble worn on an official visit to Italy with Prince Charles in 1985 (lot 208).
The sale is extremely strong in fine 20th century haute couture. We have garments by Balenciaga, Balmain, Chanel, Callot Soeurs, Courrèges, Cardin, Charles James, Dessès, Galanos, Gernreich, Givenchy, Griffe, Lucile, Lanvin, Patou, Poiret, Piguet, Jenny, Madeleine de Rauch. We have twenty-two superb Diors of which fifteen are haute couture. One of the finest and earliest examples is the extraordinary black faille ball gown with undulating, cascading skirt and asymmetric pointed bodice, probably 'Ailée' (winged) line, A/W 1948 (lot 99).
Another iconic piece is the fine ensemble from Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Ballets Russes’ collection, A/W 1976-77 (lot 226). It is rare to find the complete ensemble and in such good condition. We also have two original Ballets Russes ensembles designed by Henri Matisse for Diaghilev’s 1920 production of ‘Le Chant de Rossignol’ (lots 54 and 55). It is believed that many of the garments were made in Paul Poiret’s workshop.
John Galliano is well represented including the incredibly rare ‘Incroyables’ coat from his degree show collection of July 1984, as well as garments from ‘The Ludic Game’ A/W 1985-86, A/W 1987-88 and ‘Blanche Dubois’ S/S 1988. One of the most spectacular dresses is his two tone taffeta ball gown from ‘The Princess & the Pea’, S/S 1996 - his first couture collection for Givenchy. The trained skirt is 5 metres long.
Our Japanese section offers for sale some of the most early, avant-garde and beautiful examples by all the ‘greats’ including de-constructed examples from Rei Kawakubo’s S/S 1983, A/W 1983-84 and A/W 1984-85 collections. Issey Miyake’s ‘Prism Colour’ coat, A/W 1987 (lot 300) is like wearing a piece of abstract art.
Fashion and music often go hand in hand and this sale perfectly demonstrates that. Lot 258 is Madonna's Jean Paul Gaultier gold lamé stage ensemble worn for her 'Blond Ambition' tour in 1990, with its famous corset-like bodice with conical breasts and matching knickers. Of all the outfits she has worn over her career, this one is instantly recognisable as ‘Madonna’.
We have a strong group of Alexander McQueen dresses – but most important of all are those specially commissioned by his close friend Björk. The ‘Kimono’ dress was made for her to wear on cover of the 1997 album ‘Homogenic’ and so memorably by photographed by Nick Knight (see front cover, lot 353). Another, a topless white lace dress with integral corset McQueen made for the ‘Pagan Poetry’ video of 2001 (lot 352). Björk asked Lee for a bridal gown where she envisaged pearls being literally sewn through her skin to form the dress. Perhaps the most sculptural dress of the group is the ‘Bell’ dress of 2004 (lot 354). This was made for a video to accompany a remix of her song (with added bells) 'Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)'. This time she requested a dress 'that looked like a bell'. Lee did a brief outline sketch of the shape which Björk liked. The finished dress was flown to her in Iceland for filming - with no further discussion or fittings. Such was their close relationship that she felt secure that the dress he designed would work.
Another historically important piece is Björk's Jean-Paul Gaultier stencilled suede jerkin and matching hat, 'The Grand Voyage' collection, A/W 1994 (lot 348). She memorably modelled this piece for Gaultier’s fashion show in Paris, July 1994. At the time she was a young musician and was flattered that a famous Parisien designer such as Gaultier would have heard of her. It was the one and only time she modelled in a catwalk show.
We are honoured to have been chosen to handle the sale of Björk’s collection.
Auction: Tuesday June 14th
11am: Session I, lots 1 to 196
3pm: Session II, lots 197 to end of sale
If you are the winning bidder, we will email you an invoice the day after the sale, including a shipping quote where necessary. Payment in due immediately, in pounds sterling. We do not accept other currencies. We accept payment by debit or credit cards (credit cards have varying charges so contact us for more information), cash (up to £8000 only), sterling cheque or bank transfer.
Conditions of Business for Buyers
(a) The contractual relationship of Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd &. and Sellers with prospective Buyers is governed by:-
(i)these Conditions of Business for Buyers;
(ii)the Conditions of Business for Sellers displayed in the saleroom and available from Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd;
(iii)Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd’s Authenticity Guarantee;
(iv)any additional notices and terms printed in the sale catalogue, in each case as amended by any saleroom notice or auctioneer's announcement.
(b) As auctioneer, Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd acts as agent for the Seller. Occasionally, Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd may own or have a financial interest in a lot.
"Bidder" is any person making, attempting or considering making a bid, including Buyers;
"Buyer" is the person who makes the highest bid or offer accepted by the auctioneer, including a Buyer’s principal when bidding as agent;
"Seller" is the person offering a lot for sale, including their agent, or executors;
“KT” means Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd of 249-253 Long Lane, Bermondsey, London, SE1 4PR, company number 7173571
"Buyer’s Expenses" are any costs or expenses due to Kerry Taylor Auctions from the Buyer;
"Buyer’s Premium" is the commission payable by the Buyer on the Hammer Price at the rates set out in the Guide for Prospective Buyers;
"Hammer Price" is the highest bid for the Property accepted by the auctioneer at the auction or the post auction sale price;
"Purchase Price" is the Hammer Price plus applicable Buyer’s Premium and Buyer’s Expenses;
"Reserve Price" (where applicable) is the minimum Hammer Price at which the Seller has agreed to sell a lot.
The Buyer’s Premium, Buyer’s Expenses and Hammer Price are subject to VAT, where applicable.
3. Examination of Lots
(a) KT’s knowledge of lots is partly dependent on information provided by the Seller and KT is unable to exercise exhaustive due diligence on each lot. Each lot is available for examination before sale. Bidders are responsible for carrying out examinations and research before sale to satisfy themselves over the condition of lots and accuracy of descriptions.
(b) All oral and/orwritteninformation provided to Bidders relating to lots, including descriptions in the catalogue, condition reports or elsewhere are statements of KT’s opinion and not representations of fact. Estimates may not be relied on as a prediction of the selling price or value of the lot and may be revised from time to time at KT’s absolute discretion.
4. Exclusions and limitations of liability to Buyers
(a) KT shall refund the Purchase Price to the Buyer in circumstances where it deems that the lot is a Counterfeit, subject to the terms of KT’s Authenticity Guarantee.
(b) Subject to Condition 4(a), neither KT nor the Seller:-
(i)is liable for any errors or omissions in any oral or written information provided to Bidders by KT, whether negligent or otherwise;
(ii)gives any guarantee or warranty to Bidders and any implied warranties and conditions are excluded (save in so far as such obligations cannot be excluded by English law), other than the express warranties given by the Seller to the Buyer (for which the Seller is solely responsible) under the Conditions of Business for Sellers;
(iii)accepts responsibility to Bidders for acts or omissions (whether negligent or otherwise) by KT in connection with the conduct of auctions or for any matter relating to the sale of any lot.
(c) Without prejudice to Condition 4(b), any claim against KT and/ or the Seller by a Bidder is limited to the Purchase Price for the relevant lot. Neither KT nor the Seller shall be liable for any indirect or consequential losses.
(d) Nothing in Condition 4 shall exclude or limit the liability of KT or the Seller for death or personal injury caused by the negligent acts or omissions of KT or the Seller.
5. Bidding at Auction
(a) KT has absolute discretion to refuse admission to the auction. Before sale, Bidders must complete a Registration Form and supply such information and references as KT requires. Bidders are personally liable for their bid and are jointly and severally liable with their principal, if bidding as agent (in which case KT’s prior and express consent must be obtained).
(b) KT advises Bidders to attend the auction, but KT will endeavour to execute absentee written bids provided that they are, in KT’s opinion, received in sufficient time and in legible form.
(c) When available, written and telephone bidding is offered as a free service at the Bidder’s risk and subject to KT’s other commitments; KT is therefore not liable for failure to execute such bids. Telephone bidding may be recorded.
(d)Please note that any lots purchased via the-saleroom.com live auction service will be subject to an additional 3% commission charge + VAT at the rate imposed on the hammer price
6. Import, Export and Copyright Restrictions
KT and the Seller make no representations or warranties as to whether any lot is subject to import, export or copyright restrictions. It is the Buyer's sole responsibility to obtain any copyright clearance or any necessary import, export or other licence required by law, including licenses required under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
7. Conduct of the Auction
(a) The auctioneer has discretion to refuse bids, withdraw or re-offer lots for sale (including after the fall of the hammer) if (s)he believes that there may be an error or dispute, and may also take such other action as (s)he reasonably deems necessary.
(b) The auctioneer will commence and advance the bidding in such increments as (s)he considers appropriate and is entitled to place bids on the Seller’s behalf up to the Reserve Price for the lot, where applicable.
(c) Subject to Condition 7(a), the contract between the Buyer and the Seller is concluded on the striking of the auctioneer's hammer.
(d) Any post-auction sale of lots shall incorporate these Conditions of Business.
8. Payment and Collection
(a) Unless otherwise agreed in advance, payment of the Purchase Price is due in pounds sterling immediately after the auction (the "Payment Date"). If paying by bank wire, any bank fees must be added so that the final amount received is not less than the invoice total.
(b) Title in a lot will not pass to the Buyer until KT has received the Purchase Price in cleared funds. KT will generally not release a lot to a Buyer before payment. Earlier release shall not affect passing of title or the Buyer's obligation to pay the Purchase Price, as above.
(c) The refusal of any licence or permit required by law, as outlined in Condition 6, shall not affect the Buyer’s obligation to pay for the lot, as per Condition 8(a).
(d) The Buyer must arrange collection of lots within 10 working days of the auction. Purchased lots are at the Buyer's risk from the earliest of (i) collection or (ii) 10 working days after the auction. Until risk passes, KT will compensate the Buyer for any loss or damage to the lot up to a maximum of the Purchase Priceactuallypaid by the Buyer. KT’s assumption of risk is subject to the exclusions detailed in Condition 5(d) of the Conditions of Business for Sellers.
(e) All packing and handling of lots is at the Buyer's risk. KT will not be liable for any acts or omissions of third party packers or shippers.
9. Remedies for non-payment
Without prejudice to any rights that the Seller may have, if the Buyer without prior agreement fails to make payment for the lot within 5 working days of the auction,KT may in its sole discretion exercise 1 or more of the following remedies:-
(a) store the lot at its premises or elsewhere at the Buyer’s sole risk and expense;
(b) cancel the sale of the lot;
(c) set off any amounts owed to the Buyer by KT against any amounts owed to KT by the Buyer for the lot;
(d) reject future bids from the Buyer;
(e) charge interest at 4% per annum above The Bank of England’s Base Rate from the Payment Date to the date that the Purchase Price is received in cleared funds;
(f) re-sell the lot by auction or privately, with estimates and reserves at KT’s discretion, in which case the Buyer will
be liable for any shortfall between the original Purchase Price and the amount achieved on re-sale, including all costs incurred in such re-sale;(g) exercise a lien over any Buyer’s Property in KT’s possession, applying the sale proceeds to any amounts owed by the Buyer to KT. KT shall give the Buyer 14 days written notice before exercising such lien;
(h) commence legal proceedings to recover the Purchase Price for the lot, plus interest and legal costs;
(i) disclose the Buyer’s details to the Seller to enable the Seller to commence legal proceedings.
(j) disclose the Buyer’s details to other auction houses and any third parties as we see fit
10. Failure to collect purchases
(a) If the Buyer pays the Purchase Price but does not collect the lot within 14 working days of the auction, the lot will be stored at the Buyer's expense and risk at KT’s premises or in independent storage.
(b) If a lot is paid for but uncollected within 6 months of the auction, following 60 days written notice to the Buyer, KT will re-sell the lot by auction or privately, with estimates and reserves at KT’s discretion. The sale proceeds, less all KT’s costs, will be forfeited unless collected by the Buyer within 2 years of the original auction.
11. Data Protection
(a) KT will use information supplied by Bidders or otherwise obtained lawfully by KT for the provision of auctionrelated services, client administration, marketing and as otherwise required by law.
(b) By agreeing to these Conditions of Business, the Bidder agrees to the processing of their personal information and to the disclosure of such information to third parties world-wide for the purposes outlined in Condition 11(a) and to Sellers as per Condition 9(i).
(a) All images of lots, catalogue descriptions and all other materials produced by KT are the copyright of KT.
(b) These Conditions of Business are not assignable by any Buyer without KT’s prior written consent, but are binding on Bidders' successors, assigns and representatives.
(c) The materials listed in Condition 1(a) set out the entire agreement between the parties.
(d) If any part of these Conditions of Business be held unenforceable, the remaining parts shall remain in full force and effect.
(e) These Conditions of Business shall be interpreted in accordance with English Law, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts, in favour of KT
Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd Authenticity Guarantee
If Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd sells an item of Property which is later shown to be a “Counterfeit”, subject to the terms below Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd will rescind the sale and refund the Buyer the total amount paid by the Buyer to Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd for that Property, up to a maximum of the Purchase Price.
The Guarantee lasts for one (1) year after the date of the relevant auction, is for the benefit of the Buyer only and is non-transferable.
“Counterfeit” means an item of Property that in Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd ‘s reasonable opinion is an imitation created with the intent to deceive over the authorship, origin, date, age, period, culture or source, where the correct description of such matters is not included in the catalogue description for the Property.
Property shall not be considered Counterfeit solely because of any damage and/or restoration and/or modification work .
Please note that this Guarantee does not apply if either:-
(i) the catalogue description was in
accordance with the generally accepted
opinions of scholars and experts at the date of the sale, or the catalogue description indicated that there was a conflict of such opinions; or
(ii) the only method of establishing at the date of the sale that the item was a Counterfeit would have been by means of processes not then generally available or accepted, unreasonably expensive or impractical; or likely to have caused damage to or loss in value to the Property (in Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd’s reasonable opinion); or
(iii) there has been no material loss in value of the Property from its value had it accorded with its catalogue description.
To claim under this Guarantee, the Buyer must:-
(i) notify Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd in writing within one (1) month of receiving any information that causes the Buyer to
question the authenticity or attribution of the Property, specifying the lot number,
date of the auction at which it was
purchased and the reasons why it is believed to be Counterfeit; and
(ii) return the Property to Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd in the same condition as at the date of sale and be able to transfer good title in the Property, free from any third party claims arising after the date of the sale.
Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd has discretion to waive any of the above requirements. Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd may require the Buyer to obtain at the Buyer's cost the reports of two independent and recognised experts in the relevant field. Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd shall not be bound by any reports produced by the Buyer, and reserves the right to seek additional expert advice at its own expense. In the event Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd decides to rescind the sale under this Guarantee, it may refund to the Buyer the reasonable costs of up to two mutually approved independent expert reports, provided always that the costs of such reports have been approved in advance and in writing by Kerry Taylor Auctions Ltd.