We mostly know Chantal Thomass for her whimsical luxury lingerie which she sold for many years on rue des Petits Champs near the gardens of the Palais Royal but she started designing fashion at 20 with Dorothée Bis and was part of the trendy “Le Palace” crowd in the late 1970’s. The auction organized by Millon at Hôtel Drouot on May 6, will include 273 lots, a true retrospective of her fashion designs over forty years. Celebrated in the 60’s-80’s for her inventiveness, she took part of the prêt à porter revolution along Kenzo, Montana, Thierry Mugler and Sonya Rykiel. And by coincidence, Kenzo Takada’s collection is being auctioned by Artcurial on 11 May at their premises on Rond-Point des Champs Elysées. What nostalgia suddenly hits us!
The sale is organized two ways as is customary nowadays. You can already start bidding on line on some of the lots and a real auction for 266 pieces will take place live at Drouot. I discovered her fabulous coats, eyeglasses, jewelry, shoes and hats which I had forgotten about. Estimates are very low at a few hundred euros for each item but should fetch much more. Chantal Thomass worked for Moncler in the 1980’s designing very light parkas with style and dressed Isabelle Adjani for the Cesar awards in 1984. Her company, like Kenzo’s was sold to a large group.
Many pieces are worn by famous models of the time like Carla Bruni, Linda Evangelista, Grace Jones, Yasmeen Ghauri and Inès de la Fressange. Some of the 600 items for sale are exhibited in the Palais Royal gardens at Galerie Joyce until the sale date. And a show of her lifetime designs at Musée de Saint Etienne is opening soon.
A few days later, on th 11 tho May, at Artcurial, Kenzo Takada’s collection of furniture and objects is being sold live with a few fashion items on internet. Large photos show Kenzo’s last apartment and its very luminous decor. The different rooms reveal the diversity of his tastes and uses. In addition to his own glassware and porcelain creations, we find Japanese stoneware, Murano glassware and the Harcourt crystal service from Baccarat, marked with the designer’s emblem. The decoration is classical with contemporary touches and he mixes photography and sculpture.
Kenzo was incredibly talented and took over the Parisian scene in 1972 with a tiny shop in Passage Choiseul. He mixes modern and old sculptures, fabrics, oriental and western style with great agility. I love his large Chinese wooden horse sculpture from the Han dynasty and his photographs by William Egglestone. There is a very large sofa by Christian Liaigre estimated 600 to 800€ which could be a great deal. A beautiful Herculus in bronze from the Flemish school is estimated 20 000 to 30 000€ and is very attractive. My choice would be for lot 205, two yellow low seats by Philippe Hurel, at 300 to 500 €. There is also a set of Hermès canvas bags and Prada suitcases as well as a diptyque of Kenzo by photographer Jean Larivière.
Interestingly, Jean Charles de Castelbajac, born 1949, has written a text for both catalogs. He is one of the survivors of this incredible period which saw so much talent in fashion and in magazines. Both exhibitions will be fun to attend at the beginning of May.
Chantal Thomass at Millon, Hôtel Drouot, May 6 at 2 pm and online until then. Kenzo at Artcurial on May 11 at 10 am.
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