Published: March 8, 2022
Review by Madelia Hickman Ring, Photos Courtesy Augusta Auctions
BELLOWS FALLS, VT. – This is only the second time Augusta Auctions has offered a midwinter auction but the firm’s February 22 “Virtual Vintage – Wonders For Your Wardrobe” auction was a still a success, with 88 percent of the 200 lots offered trading hands successfully.
“Yes, I think it went very well,” Julia Ricklis, Augusta’s operations manager said. “The sale was a little smaller but we’re very pleased with the interest and results. We had some early pieces and some Twentieth Century couture that went quite well.”
The sale had been billed as offering treasures “spanning four centuries,” and the leaderboard reflected the interest realized by works from a broad range of dates. Glamour ruled the day with bidders taking a Chanel couture black silk trained evening gown to $6,250. The dress had been designed for Chanel’s Fall/Winter 1987/1988 couture show, where it was modeled by Ines de la Fressange. Ricklis said the piece had been discovered in a thrift store and they were able to research the collection and runway records.
Another piece of virtually identical vintage scored high marks with bidders, who pushed Issey Miyake’s circa 1990 rhythm pleats “Circle” dress and matching shorts to its high estimate of $5,000. Both pieces were in canary-yellow and wine-red pleated polyester and related to similar pieces in the exhibition, “Miyake Issey Exhibition” at the National Art Center in Tokyo in 2016, as well as, from the same year, “Manus x Machina” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Eighteenth Century fashions for both men and women featured prominently in the highlights of Augusta Auctions’ December 8 “Decades of Decadence” sale; while there were fewer examples of such age in this sale, a number achieved prices high enough to put them among the top sellers. Such was the case with a glazed cotton round gown from 1795, which sold for $3,875 and denoted the third highest price of the sale. Other early examples included a lot of two late Eighteenth Century robes â l’Anglaise, which had survived in poor but astonishingly original condition. Another late Eighteenth Century piece was a circa 1795 Quaker drop-front dress in brown silk taffeta, expectantly plain, that finished at $2,375, double its high estimate.
For early men’s wear, a Macaroni-style fancy dress silk ensemble with cutaway coat and drop-front breeches led offerings and sold within estimate, for $1,000.
Designer offerings included works by Galanos, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) Lilli Ann, Oscar de la Renta and Pierre Balmain. Two works by YSL notably exceeded expectations, with a Ballets Russes Collection from the late 1970s finishing at $3,375. The dress had been included in four exhibitions at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Also, by YSL for Dior was a cashmere crop jacket, circa 1959, that buttoned up at $2,125. Ricklis said it was probably part of a larger ensemble that would likely have included a dress.
For eye-popping color, it would be difficult to beat the cream and orange colors in a Rex Bell Walking Box ensemble from Nevada, circa 1950, which featured a cream wool gabardine twill woven shirt with embroidered Southwestern foliage decoration and rhinestone decoration, with a pair of orange wool gabardine slacks. It was noteworthy that the ensemble had survived intact and doubtless helped drive interest from an estimate of $500/800 to finish at $1,938.
Augusta Auctions’ next scheduled auctions will offer a cataloged sale on May 10 and a Discovery Auction on May 11, at the Sturbridge Host Hotel and Conference center in Sturbridge, Mass.
Prices quoted include the buyer’s premium as reported by the auction house. For information, www.augusta-auction.com or 802-463-3333.
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