The highly anticipated André Leon Talley auction decimated expectations at Christie’s today—a smash hit for the pioneering fashion editor, writer, and bon vivant, who had stints working with Andy Warhol, Anna Wintour, and Diana Vreeland. The dashing and grandiose Talley, who died in January 2022, was the first Black male creative director of Vogue. He was known for his impeccable wit and sharp point of view, as well as his custom designer caftans.
On offer were memorabilia that merged his personal and professional lives, as well as his fine-tuned aesthetic. The top lot was Warhol’s depiction of Vreeland—the famous Vogue editor and Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute special consultant—astride a steed. That work, Diana Vreeland Rampant (after Jacques Louis David, Napoleon at St. Bernard), was estimated to fetch $30,000–$50,000, but garnered $94,500.
Warhol’s valentine on canvas, Candy Box (True Love), personalized to Talley in 1984, sold for $94,500—below the $150,000–$250,000 estimate but enough to merit a tie with Vreeland as Napoleon Bonaparte.
Other big ticket items were Louis Vuitton luggage. Talley’s trio of monogrammed suitcases also went for $94,500. A pair of non-functional Stephen Sprouse “graffiti” suitcases made just for the runway sold for $69,300, well above the $4,000–$5,000 estimate.
Also on hand were portraits by Talley’s well-known intimates. A pair of Karl Lagerfeld illustrations went for $32,760 each, tromping the $1,200 maximum estimate. Helmut Newton’s dashing image of the “kaiser of fashion” sporting a monocle, taken in 1973, sold for $20,160 against an estimate of $2,000–$3,000. Horst P. Horst’s famous 1979 image of Vreeland reclining in her crimson abode fetched $32,700, almost 10 times its $3,000 maximum estimate.
Talley’s flowing garb, too, racked up big numbers. His red Norma Kamali ‘Sleeping Bag’ coat has been making the news cycle as apparent inspiration for Rihanna’s gargantuan Azzedine Alaïa number at this week’s Super Bowl. Talley’s puffer was estimated at $500–$800 but sold for $25,200.
A navy Chanel silk cape fetched $20,160 (estimate $3,000–$5,000) and a gold brocade Dapper Dan caftan went for $16,380 (estimate $1,000–$2,000).
An online sale of Talley’s remaining items will run through February 16.
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