André Leon Talley’s possessions fetch almost $3.6 million at auction
Written by Oscar Holland
Hundreds of items from the estate of late fashion icon André Leon Talley, including paintings, personal photographs and some of his signature capes, have sold at auction for a combined $3.55 million.
A trove of the veteran editor’s possessions went under the hammer at Christie’s in New York on Wednesday, fetching almost $1.4 million, before a further 350 lots were sold online by the auction house.
Talley, who was Vogue magazine’s longtime creative director, died last year aged 73. He owned a vast fashion collection, with garments on sale ranging from Tom Ford kimonos to a selection of Prada crocodile coats. Among the top sellers were a Christian Dior greatcoat and a silk satin “Climate Revolution” cloak by the late Vivienne Westwood, which fetched $40,320 and for $32,760, respectively.
An exhibition of items, including some of Talley’s signature capes and kaftans, went on show ahead of the sale. Credit: Courtesy Christie’s Images
The items in the collection also spoke to his deep network of relationships with some of the fashion world’s biggest names. Over a dozen sketches and photos by the late Karl Lagerfed, as well as a signed watercolor portrait that Gianni Versace once made of Talley. The latter item sold for $37,500.
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Talley was known not only for his love of fashion, but for his interest in art and culture. Two different Andy Warhol artworks (along with a Louis Vuitton luggage set) shared the title of the auction’s top seller, each fetching $94,500. Also among the big-ticket items was a Bradley Theodore portrait of former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland that sold for just over $40,000. Several other photos of Vreeland appeared in the sale, as did an Annie Leibovitz photo of Vogue’s top gun Anna Wintour.
A brick red “Sleeping Bag” clutch coat by Norma Kamali fetched $25,200. Credit: Courtesy Christie’s Images
A red coat by designer Norma Kamali sold for $25,200, well over its initial estimate of $500 to $800. The iconic piece received renewed attention earlier in the week when Rihanna stepped out in a notably similar puffer jacket, by Alaïa, for her Super Bowl performance — leading many onlookers to speculate that it might have been a tribute to Talley.
Elsewhere, a veritable miscellany of items went on sale to buyers from 47 countries, including travel clocks, amethyst geodes and a Vera Wang-designed silver cutlery set.
A portrait of former Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland, by artist Bradley Theodore, sold for just over $40,000. Credit: Courtesy Christie’s Images
The auction house said that proceeds from the sale will go toward two churches that “were close to Mr. Talley’s heart”: the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York and the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina.
In a press statement, Christie’s head of private collections, Elizabeth Seigel, said the sale confirmed Talley’s “rarefied status within the fashion world and beyond.” The collection was, she added, “a testament to his impeccable taste.”