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With Christie’s Sale, Suzy Menkes Allows Her Clothes to ‘Walk out in the Sunshine’


(Photo: Zoe Hitchen for SHOWstudio)

Journalist Suzy Menkes, she of the distinctively quiffed coiff and ability to draw assured seasonal trendlines through the scatter plot of contemporary fashion, hasn’t thrown anything out of her wardrobe since 1964. Rather than await the crew from a ultrachic version of Hoarders, she’s decided to sell off some of her sartorial stash at Christie’s. “If I had a large open space in my home, I would dedicate it, like an art gallery, to my collection,” said Menkes in a statement announcing the sale. “But there is something sad about clothes laid in a tomb of trunks. They need to live again and this auction provides the opportunity for them to walk out in the sunshine, to dance the night away, and to give someone else the joy they gave me.”

The online sale, which opens for bids on July 11, will consist of approximately 80 lots worth of dresses, coats, skirts, tops, jackets, and accessories. Estimates start at £200 (around $300 at current exchange), with most lots expected to fetch under £1,000 ($1,500). Highlights include Pucci ensembles from the 1960s, when Menkes was at Cambridge and chummy with the designer’s niece, and vibrantly printed Ossie Clark pieces from the ’70s. Menkes’ fondness for extravagant plumage takes a turn for the literal in a Bill Gibb suede coat–trimmed in fur and embroidered with large peacocks.

The top lot, estimated to fetch between £1,000 and £2,000, is a spangled cocktail jacket from Yves Saint Laurent‘s 1980 “le soleil” collection. Menkes wore it–pistachio green body, pink and blue sleeves, sequined solar rays (YSL’s homage to Schiaparelli) radiating from the collar–to her first runway show as fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune in 1988. There is an even a classic Chanel jacket in the mix, an ivory wool number trimmed with black braid. “I like black and white,” noted Menkes, “as long as it is in dogtooth check, preferably mixed with stripes.”

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