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Christie's online-only: Vintage couture sale features iconic designs with star status
Hermès, 2011. A Rose Tyrien and Tosca Epsom leather Candy Birkin bag. Estimate: £5,000 - 7,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2013.

LONDON.- Christie’s will launch a sensational season of fashion and accessory sales with an online-only auction of Vintage Couture: Handbags, Luggage and Accessories, open for bidding from 18 April through to 2 May 2013. Building on the notable demand for vintage fashion, this sale provides buyers around the world with opportunities to bid on an array of 71 stylish and glamorous items made for and coveted by A-list celebrities and film stars across the ages. The sale features iconic designs by jewellers to the stars, Kenneth Jay Lane and ‘Joseff of Hollywood’ who designed pieces for Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh, as well as luxury handbags and luggage by Hermès, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. The auction will run online-only for two weeks, with prices starting from just £200, up to £8,000.

Featuring an exceptional selection of accessories from the 1920s to the present day, the auction is presented in three sections of Jewellery, Handbags and Luggage.

Clare Borthwick, Specialist in Vintage Couture and Accessories commented: “Providing the fashion conscious around the globe with a treasure trove of opportunities, this Vintage Couture: Handbags, Luggage and Accessories sale is a very accessible start to Christie’s 2013 fashion and accessory auctions. The fashion industry is seeing a continuing trend towards vintage items with increasing interest in jewellery and accessories from the latter half of the 20th century. This sale has been designed to meet the growing demand for vintage items and we expect interest from international buyers. It includes an extraordinary selection of items from classic charm bracelets to bright leather handbags and Louis Vuitton luggage. As our third online-only auction, the format follows the success of Christie’s sell-out Elizabeth Taylor Collection in 2011, followed in 2012 by our May Hermès sale, held in conjunction with Hermès and the Royal Academy and our November Vintage Couture: Handbags and Shoes auction, which welcomed registrants from 36 countries, 55 percent of whom were new to Christie’s.”

A variety of decadent costume jewellery by top designers will be among the leading items in the sale. In addition to striking designs by Chanel, such as a gothic cuff bangle (estimate: £600 - 800) and Yves Saint Laurent, other rare pieces include a black enamel cuff bangle by Kenneth Jay Lane (estimate: £200 – 400) and a stunning flower brooch by Joseff (estimate: £300 – 500). Both designers were responsible for dressing A-list celebrities, from silver screen legends to present day beauties. Kenneth Jay Lane created designs for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn, while Eugene Joseff, designed jewellery for many Hollywood film stars during the 1930s, 40s and 50s, including Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind. Other highlights include on-trend chunky cuff bangles and earrings, with key pieces of jewellery representing the flamboyant eras of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Luxury handbags, including an array of brightly coloured and pristine ‘Kelly’ and ‘Birkin’ bags by Hermès will highlight the handbag section of the sale. ‘Kelly’ and ‘Birkin’ bags continue to be highly sought-after and have become increasingly popular since they were first designed. The sale features 15 Birkin bags, which were inspired by English actress and singer Jane Birkin in the 1980s. In a chance encounter with the former Hermès CEO on an airplane, the celebrity suggested the design for a weekend bag, which paved the way for the consistently popular ‘Birkin’ bag. Birkin highlights include candy coloured classics in ‘Aztec Bleu and orange’, ‘Violet’, ‘Orange’, ‘Rose Jaipur and gold’, ‘Rose Tyrien and Tosca’ and ‘White’, estimated to fetch between £5,000 and £8,000 each.

Chanel’s highly anticipated signature quilted bags include a khaki green caviar leather classic flap bag (estimate: £2,000 - 2,500) and a black quilted leather bag (estimate: £1,000 – 1,200). They are offered alongside unusual designs such as a limited edition Louis Vuitton football, made to commemorate the World Cup tournament held in Paris in 1998 (estimate: £1,500 – 2,000).

‘The art of dressing’ is highlighted by a collection of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage covering all travel and storage needs. Renowned for quality, elegance and versatility Louis Vuitton luggage has long been considered the epitome of style and glamour. Designers, celebrities and royalty have all travelled with the recognisable monogrammed cases in tow. An exquisite monogrammed example of the wardrobe trunk, with hanging space has an estimate of £6,500 to £7,500. The revolutionary wardrobe trunk was introduced in 1875, changing the way people packed for long-distance trips. The practical and stylish luggage enabled globe-trotters to take their entire clothes wardrobe with them, in perfect condition. Other Louis Vuitton items include a toiletry case complete with an assortment of bottles and a manicure set (estimate: £2,000 – 4,000).

Online-only auctions were pioneered by Christie’s, with the Collection of Elizabeth Taylor in December 2011, and have grown to a busy calendar of approximately 30 online-only sales scheduled throughout 2013. Vintage couture sales will continue with an online-only sale running from 9 to 23 May, which includes exotic and rare leather Hermès handbags and limited edition handbags by Chanel.

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