There were moments last night during the sale of The Daphne Guinness Collection at Christie’s South Kensington when I felt that I was being whirled around in a global washing machine; bids came in on-line, on the phone and in the packed room from Korea, Germany, Portugal, China, Washington, Germany, New Jersey… and GB of course. 21 countries in all bid in this super-fashion sale plucked by Daphne from her wardrobe to benefit the Isabella Blow Foundation, which she founded in memory of her friend to support young fashion students.
The future of fashion looks a lot brighter this a.m., I can tell you, as the sale fetched £476,800 – over four times the pre-sale estimate of £100,000. A big, big bidder was superstar Lady Gaga who was post-concert in Los Angeles, so represented by her stylist, sitting in the room and nodding – a lot – at James Bruce-Gardyne who, clad in a spiffy blue suit, took the auction brilliantly. Daphne herself admitted she was overwhelmed by how many bidders took part in the sale, which lasted for well over two hours.
Top of the pops were the drop-dead Alexander McQueen dresses, poignant reminders of Daphne’s very close friendship and collaboration with this genius designer. Two standouts were the ivory silk tulle empire gown The Girl Who Lived in the Tree which fetched £85,250 – the second highest lot and my favourite, the sculptural metallic silvery mini dress which fetched £79,250.
Christian Lacroix had his devoted fans, too; the Spanish-style white lace dress with a black matador jacket was quite lovely and fetched £16.250.
And what of the shoes? The Alexander McQueen angel wing gold and black platform ankle boots are absolutely iconic and I know will go down in future fashion history books. Someone agreed with me to the tune of £15,000!
But the top lot was the ethereal Mario Testino photograph of Daphne taken for Vogue in 2008. At £133, 250 this was a new world record for a Testino work and went to Portugal. It was a stellar sale. It was a great and kind gesture on Daphne’s part to fund the future of fashion. And it was such fun!