Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rags to Riches-A Hidden Treasure by Jeanne Lanvin


My favorite treasure hunting story of the month. 
The photos and press release below are from Kerry Taylor's last auction. As a dealer I have a lot of my own great stories about finding vintage treasures in the most unusual places and most of my most fabulous finds end up in Kerry's hands and later in museums and archives. 
It was a thrill to be sitting at the auction while the bids sky rocketed for this unusual piece and yes I was at the markets the next day in case you are wondering!

A few weeks ago a collector was sifting through a London street market when he spotted what appeared to be a good quality gown. It was somewhat crumpled and soiled in appearance but upon inspecting the inside seams he spied a Lanvin label. Despite the initial rather dishevelled appearance of the gown he agreed to purchase it for £70 and brought it straight round to show Kerry Taylor. It was suggested that the dress would benefit from specialist cleaning to try to remove some of the grime and stains – to help its appearance when displayed on a mannequin, as the probable purchaser would be a museum or private collector and so this was done. It was the highlight of the April 17th auction.
The label is a rare one, the gown dating from 1945 the year of liberation from German occupation at the end of World War II. What also made the dress unique is that a miniature version of it appeared in 'Le Theatre de la Mode’ – an exhibition of the best of French couture which was displayed on dolls and exhibited in Paris and London in 1945 in aid of post-war charities. The gown had unusual wide, curving hips formed from horse hair panniers. One of Lanvin’s claims to fame in her early career was the 'Robe de Style' which also used panniers and was extremely popular and widely imitated in the early 1920s. Jeanne Lanvin died in 1946 so this dress is from one of her last major periods of her creativity. At the auction it created international interest from museums and collectors alike. Three telephones battled it out with the dress ultimately selling to an important European private collector.

I hope that this inspires you to go out a find some treasures of your own. 
If you have any treasures in your closet let me know. 
Her next auction is in June and consignments are being accepted now.
 See you there!

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