BRIGHT PINK LINE: If you’ve Googled any combination of “Rihanna,” “rose” and “Chanel” since her pregnancy announcement, you’ll want to follow Tuesday’s sale at Parisian auction house Gros & Delettrez.
Although the hot pink Chanel quilted coat with bejeweled Gripoix buttons that go under the hammer isn’t exactly the one worn by the music and fashion icon, it will almost certainly blow its estimate from 1,200 to 1. 500 euros. And not just because searches for Rihanna’s jacket skyrocketed after it was revealed.
“Although it is not unique, it is a rare model” because the elasticated elements of this autumn 1996 model signed Karl Lagerfeld are often in poor condition, explains Antoine Saulnier, auctioneer of Gros & Delettrez. “There was one recently sold for around 9,000 euros on a resale site after Rihanna’s announcement. Another was listed at 19,000 euros but the listing was withdrawn.
Having it connected, if not worn, to a style icon like Rihanna also helps drive the prices up. But this particular jacket is also part of the collection of Catherine B, a fashion antiques dealer and vintage dealer who has spent more than three decades amassing a fabulous cache of Chanel and Hermès pieces.
“There is always more interest in an auction with a provenance. In the case of Catherine, the fact that she can be considered one of the initiators of vintage and second-hand luxury some thirty years ago – when Chanel clothes or Hermès bags were grouped together start of an auction and could be won for a few hundred euros at most – adds to the pedigree of these items,” said Saulnier.
According to him, prices are driven up by the combined effects of now globalized digital access to most auctions; increased awareness of the sustainability of pre-loved items; higher prices in the first-hand luxury market and increased brand visibility. “When you walk past a monument and see a 30-meter-tall Bella Hadid, it’s incredibly powerful,” he said.
But for their future former owner Catherine B, an in-demand or fashionable brand was never a consideration. “I have never bought an item for the brand but for the stories they convey – the quality of the work of the craftsmen of Hermès, the fantastic imagination of Karl Lagerfeld,” said the luxury vintage specialist, insisting that “showing and sharing” was an important part of his career.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also prompted her to rethink her approach to her collection, focusing on tighter editing and spending more time exhibiting objects she considers to be “close to contemporary art”. like the original Hermès Birkin bag owned by Jane Birkin, which was a highlight of the Victoria & Albert Museum’s 2020 “Bags: Inside Out” exhibition.
“What’s iconic to some may not have struck me,” she admitted, reeling in personally memorable picks from the 600 items that went under the hammer as of Tuesday, including the spring 2013 Hula bag. -Hoop XL straight off the catwalk; a fur coat among the first models sold by Gabrielle Chanel in her boutique in Deauville; a Fall 2001 “Just a Drop” sweatshirt celebrating Chanel No. 5; platform shoes similar to a pair seen on Claudia Schiffer on the Spring 1992 runway, and a wide range of handbags.
“In a world where intangible things like NFTs command high prices, when someone physically comes across an object through an exhibition or sale, that’s where you can get a message across. – that fashion objects are timeless, that they have a history.” she thought. “Fashion should be a spectacle and should remain so. Otherwise, it’s a supermarket.