Designer Karl Lagerfeld’s formidable career is arguably as famous for his nearly unmatched collection of design ephemera as it is for his provocative designs and, of course, his teddy bear, Coco. On Friday afternoon, his family sold the house where he lived in France and began his professional career in Berlin, to a buyer that the auctioneer described as a collector who owns New York properties. The London jewelry specialist retailer Goldsmiths commented that the floor of Lagerfeld’s house was “a video game and especially a game for computers.” It was also an entertainment center, where furniture pieces—including a teak set inlaid with tiny blue and purple crystals—sat “most of the year.” The pricetag? $350,000.
The collection also includes a collaboration between Dutch artist Piet Mondrian and European artist Jérôme Coudert: a portrait of his family, which drew its inspiration from Mondrian’s 1967 art monolith, “Sleeping Bag” (which inspired Sherri Hill’s Spring/Summer 1978 collection). The original canvas covered the living room walls, until the buyer decided that it was “too expensive to restore,” and the painting—accompanied by a handwritten note from Mondrian—went on to decorate an apartment in a northern European city, which might just be where Lagerfeld’s, er, personal “fairy godson” lives.
The collection’s value, along with that of the floor, is thrown out the window by its sheer volume. However, the most anticipated part of the sale has yet to be announced: the auction itself. The French house at which the auction took place—Tere Lagerfeld—is owned by François and Marion Lévy, the sons of the designer’s late business partner, Jacques de Bascher. Even though the the celebrated interior designer was reportedly fired by Mr. de Bascher in 1968, his paintings of his past clients—Chanel haute couture houses—are still on display in the main store (also owned by the Lévy family), alongside Lagerfeld’s own design sculpture series.
Yet, on Thursday evening, it was widely reported that the Lagerfeld brothers’ auction would feature Lagerfeld’s most prized pieces of clothing. Unfortunately, that auction was abandoned. But there was only one item left to go, and it had just as much potential as any of the legendary designer’s designs.
For Friday night’s cocktail party at Tere, a jewelry designer made an appearance alongside one of the late designer’s most iconic feathered hats, for which he was best known. Before leaving the auction house, however, the little-known auctioneer, who remained anonymous, turned to the party guests and said a cryptic phrase: “Mais non.”