2 posts tagged "Grand Palais"
Fashion-minded visitors at the Biennale des Antiquaires, which opened to the public today in Paris and runs through September 23, tend to beeline to the haute joaillerie. Mere paces away from the Cartier booth, however, a Parisian gallery has put together something genuine fashion wonks might prefer: a re-creation of an installation that Jeanne Lanvin commissioned in 1925.
Lanvin, who loved the theater, had her interior designer, A.A. Rateau, create an Art Deco dressing room for an exhibition that year at the Grand Palais. She also added a live model—wearing Lanvin, naturellement—to the tableau. The owners of Galerie Mathivet didn’t, but they did (somewhat miraculously) manage to get their hands on the dress. According to Céline Mathivet, Alber Elbaz generously let them borrow it after about six months of back-and-forth. The floral metallic number has only been out of the Lanvin archives once in recent history, for an exhibition in 2007 at the city’s Galliera Musée de la Mode.
The Mathivets are displaying the metallic dress behind a Plexiglas screen (pictured)—no touching!—and it’s the one thing in their authentic mock-up that’s not for sale. As historic as it is, the exhibit is a testament to the staying power of Art Deco, particularly at the level at which Mme. Lanvin engaged it. To this day, the house’s signature Arpège fragrance comes in a vessel that’s for all intents and purposes the original “boule noire” Rateau designed in the twenties. And the leopard-print sculpted armchair in the center of the room looks as desirable as ever—especially for anyone suffering from Biennale bling fatigue.
The five-volume, 22lb, 200-euro boxed catalogue of the sale of the century had nearly sold out before the doors of the Grand Palais opened to Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent’s friends on Friday night. Supporters—ranging from petites mains to French high society and selected A-listers (plus a few unabashed line-jumpers)—were among the 2,500 guests invited to the evening’s preview of the sumptuous art collection amassed by the duo over 50 years. And that was the “restricted” list. On the block: 733 pieces, including several by 20th-century greats—Picasso, Mondrian, Matisse, Brancusi, and Cézanne. Brancusi’s wooden sculpture Portrait of Mme L.R., the couple’s first major acquisition, was estimated to sell for between 15 and 20 million euros ($18.8 to $25 million at current exchange); one Picasso was estimated for 25-30 million euros. In his foreword to the catalogue, Bergé noted that the collection “lost the greater part of its significance” upon the death of Saint Laurent last June. “Their purpose is to be admired and loved,” he noted, adding that the decision to sell was without regret or nostalgia. Among the few things Bergé is keeping are the first African sculpture they bought as a couple, and the portrait of Saint Laurent by Andy Warhol. Betty Catroux, dressed in black from sunglasses to oxfords, said, “We were so fortunate to live with these objects, but I am like Pierre [Bergé]. I don’t live in nostalgia—it makes you want to cry.” She will attend every moment of the auction, she said. “We are like a family, we stick together.”
Christie’s is handling the sale, which begins Monday night and runs through Wednesday. Proceeds are expected to exceed 300 million euros and will benefit charity, notably an association for AIDS research funded by the Pierre Bergé-Yves Saint Laurent Foundation. Still, there is more to come: The Bergé-YSL collection from the Château Gabriel in Normandy will go on the block in November, and it is said that enough “small” inventory remains for a third, more accessibly-priced, sale.