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Hotel Drouot Auction House

By Jeanne Suica

Hotel Drouot
Drouot Richelieu
9 rue Drouot 9th
01 48 00 20 20
M° Richelieu Drouot


Paris has been buzzing with the results of two major Yves Saint Laurent auctions that were held last week. The collection of Pierre Berge and Yves Saint Laurent which was held at Christie’s broke a few major records in the antiques and art market. Did anyone say financial crisis? Not here! A pair of candelbra brought 253,000 euros and a chair fetched a sum of 21.9 million euros. Sadly I admit that I couldn’t even get close to the preview, there was a two hour wait to even get a peek at the fabulous collection.

I had better luck at the clothing and couture auction which was held a few days later at Hotel Drouot. As many of you might know Hotel Drouot is one of the only auction houses in Paris that runs auctions just about every day. You’ll find out more about upcoming auctions on their site www.drouot.com.

Depending on the day and type of auction you’ll be able to root through boxes of dusty old books, view small collectables, view some of the most famous art in the world, buy fabulous furniture, or fine jewelry. It is a crap shoot and you’ll be competing with virtually every antique and art dealer in Paris along with phone bidders world wide for the more important sales, but it is a great learning experience and lots of fun if you like that sort of thing. Drouot sells 800,00 objects each year in one of their 21 rooms so it is like an estate sale only possibly a bit more chaotic and intimidating for the novice auction-goer, but worthwhile for others.

Okay, enough about dusty books, back to the clothing…

The collection of 943 lots included a handful of haute couture pieces, many Rive Gauche items, accessories and a good amount of jewelry from the years 1962-2002. I was able to attend the preview and the auction on one day. It is rare that clothing and couture expos are dedicated to just one designer so it was truly a once in a life time experience to be able to see so many important pieces from so many of his most famous collections: the Safari collection, his Le Smoking collection along with one of his first creations for Dior, a raspberry red dress circa 1958, along with a number of signed Robert Goossens jewelry.

Unlike the Christie’s auction I didn’t hear of any records being broken. The top selling item was a black beaded ivory satin dress haute couture dress circa 1963 which brought 8,125 euros. A deal when we all know what haute couture sells for these days! Surprisingly enough, my favorite piece, a haute couture dress from his collection Hommage à Pablo Picasso from 1979-1980, didn’t sell. So maybe I’ll just keep playing the lottery and hope that one day it will show up at auction again!

So since this blog is all about secret places and I’m now part of Heather’s posse I feel that it is my duty to share one of my secrets with you.

One of my favorite auction houses is not in Paris but in London. Kerry Taylor Auctions, run by Kerry Taylor, is one of the world’s best couture, clothing and textile auction houses in the world. She has several auctions per year including two major auctions held in association with Sotheby’s. You’ll find lots of information about this fascinating lady and some of the most covetable collections and pieces that she has sold on her site.

Her next auction which will be held on March 10 is an auction for just about everyone. Whether you’re a fashionista looking to update your spring wardrobe, a collector or a designer looking for some inspiration you’ll find something to your liking: Balenciaga, Biba, Hermes, Tom Ford, Herve Leger, Gaultier, Pucci and she even has a great selection of fine Hermès bags for those of you who read my last article and are dreaming of owning an Hermes with estimates from £40-8000. I’m sure that you’ll be able to find something within your budget.

A fully illustrated on line catalog on her site www.kerrytaylorauctions.com along with guidelines of how to bid on line at www.invaluable.com just in case you’re tempted!

Happy bidding and good luck!

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