The sale of the unique collection of costumes assembled by this enthusiast was eagerly awaited, as several pieces were of undeniable museum quality.
Neo-classical dress, First Empire, c. 1810, white cotton and muslin.
To everyone's surprise, the star of this timeless fashion show turned out to be a neo-classical dress from the First Empire, more precisely from around 1810. In a mix of white cotton and muslin, the gown with its customary high waist features a round neckline, a sash to fasten it and long sleeves with small puffs. In excellent condition, it garnered €21,500 after a high estimate of only €1,800. It stole the show from a French-style ceremonial court dress with imposing paniers in silk brocade with gold and silver thread, dating from 1770/1780, with an estimate of €12,000/15,000. Indispensable for any evening at Versailles, it finally fetched €18,500. One of its counterparts from between 1780 and 1790 – not as heavy, as it was made in a "Mexican" taffeta embroidered with bouquets and roses - was sold for €10,100. A slightly earlier Louis XV mantua à la polonaise in "chiné à la branche" taffeta (similar to ikat) pinned in the English style over the breast went for €10,200. In exchange for €9,800, we moved into the 20th century with a Paul Poiret haute couture sequin and embroidered pearl evening gown, ca. 1921-1922. Featuring stylised rose motifs by Raoul Dufy for Atelier Martine, this was entirely embroidered with iridescent black sequins and glass beads. Meanwhile, a contemporary dress attributed to Madeleine Vionnet sported Greek frieze and horse motifs on a black silk crepe background (€9,000). Several specialist French and foreign museums seized the opportunity to add to their collections, like the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which for €2,300 pre-empted a gold lamé evening gown from around 1935, possibly by Vionnet, and the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire d'Orange, which acquired a sack-back gown (€5,750) in fine woodblock-printed Indian cotton. This had retained its original finish... since 1785.