Next Chapter of Karl Lagerfeld Auctions Highlights Couturier’s Sketches

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PENCILED IN: For the fourth leg of Karl Lagerfeld’s multievent estate auction, his drawings will take pride of place in an auction on July 6 at Sotheby’s in Paris.

At previous sales in Monaco, Paris and Cologne, Germany, the auction house has dispersed his collection of exceptional furniture, fine art, collectibles, Choupette memorabilia and personal objects that ranged from household linens and suit jackets to a weathered Chanel tote with his Fiac art fair badge still attached.

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This time around, Sotheby’s will be offering 180 drawings spanning from the late 1960s to 2018 in an auction timed to coincide with Paris Couture Week.

Part of his personal papers kept in his Paris apartments on Rue des Saints-Pères and Quai Voltaire, these illustrations “uniquely retrace the history of fashion and taste as seen by one of its major players, driven by boundless inventivity and virtuosity,” Pierre Mothes, vice president of Sotheby’s France, said in a statement.

A sharp and confident outline in black ink and washes of color — watercolors, pencils, markers or even makeup — are the recognizable signatures of this prolific and lifelong illustrator.

His fashion sketches will take pride of place, as they served as the main medium for his designs for Chloé, Fendi and Chanel.

A Karl Lagerfeld illustration to be auctioned on July 6.
A Karl Lagerfeld illustration to be auctioned on July 6.

One of the highlights will be a set of 24 sketches from 1969, collected in a binder along with three press clippings on the designer and collages of his inspirations. Estimated between 3,000 euros and 5,000 euros, they will no doubt generate intense bidding, as interest in the late couturier shows no sign of waning.

Also remarkable are a sketch for a 2013 dress coat for Fendi outlined in bright marker pen; a drawing of a red-headed model skipping away in an burnt orange ensemble edged in white frills from 1978, and an illustration for a Fendi baguette bag alongside the profile of a woman sporting a Louise Brooks bob. Some even bear annotations, be they indications for the ateliers or evocative titles.

At the first sale in Monaco last December, fashion sketches included “Les trois muses Inès, Anna et Vicky,” which sold for 203,200 euros, and three “scrapbook” notebooks from the mid-’80s that took in 152,400 euros.

The French sales, held at the end of 2021, netted 18.2 million euros, roughly four times the pre-auction estimate, according to Sotheby’s.

Two world records were set at one of the Paris sales: A black Chanel crocodile tote bag from 2010 that Lagerfeld carried daily fetched 94,500 euros, and Martin Szekely’s 2007 work “Miroir Soleil Noir” went for 375,500 euros.

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