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Fashion

Best-of-the-best vintage luxury auction preview draws Kim Kardashian West in a pink rubber dress

A hand-painted 1930s Hermès bag, vintage Kelly and Birkin bags, Chanel clutches ... and a surfboard – vintage chain What Goes Around Comes Around’s Christie’s sale is out of the ordinary

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018, 2:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2018, 8:17pm

In sifting through their substantial trove of designer vintage finds, Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione, co-founders of US luxury resale boutique chain What Goes Around Comes Around, were looking for more than your typical Birkin bag.

They found an Hermès travel bag from the 1930s, delicately hand-painted and accented with palladium hardware, and another item from the venerable French house, a rare alligator Kelly bag in a celadon shade from 1995. Looking for a surfboard from Chanel, a shoe trunk designed by Manolo Blahnik for Louis Vuitton or Andy Warhol-inspired Versace leggings? They’re all here too.

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What Goes Around Comes Around, which has shops in New York, Miami and Beverly Hills, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. And instead of throwing a big party, Weisser and Maione decided to team up with Christie’s New York to offer at auction more than 200 fashion pieces they have acquired over the years; pieces, said Weisser, that represent “the best of the best of brands that are so coveted”.

In August, the fashion entrepreneurs hosted a preview of the auction items at a Beverly Hills event, attended by celebrity clients including Kim Kardashian West, who showed up in a Pepto Bismol-coloured rubber dress. The collection was subsequently dispatched to New York, where it will be auctioned piece by piece on September 18.

Weiss said that for a fashion auction event of this scale – and given that the sale will be open to global bidding – it was important that some of the pieces be unconventional.

“Our clients are always looking for rare, incredibly special pieces, and this auction is chock full of them,” said Weisser. Among some of the “out there crazy collectibles” are a pair of fibreglass skis from Dior and Chanel’s limited-edition headphones in a quilted case. There’s a bicycle and a hammock, both from prestige labels not generally associated with these products.

“Our buying is global, and we buy directly from collectors and from the public. We reached deep into our collections and curated this offering over the past year,” he said. “Many people are starting to recognise the collectibility of fashion, and one of our goals is to expand on that theory.”

As far as investments go, many of these pieces would seem to be pretty sound. There are a significant number of Hermès bags in the collection, and as anyone who has ever owned one knows, the Birkin and Kelly specifically appreciate in value. The oldest item in the offering is from the 1930s, and others date back to the 1950s; most of the purses were made between the 1980s and the 2000s.

Demand from Asia on auction day is expected to be brisk. Caitlin Donovan, head of sale for Christie’s Handbags and Accessories, said that the company had a “strong audience base” in Asia, and that interested bidders could participate online or by phone; they could also leave maximum absentee bids.

 

Donovan anticipates particularly strong interest in collaboration pieces – say, a pair of boxing gloves by Karl Lagerfeld designed for Louis Vuitton.

“Those are one-of-a-kind pieces that represent a moment in time,” said Donovan. “They are very special.”

Which brings us to the most important question of all – how much could some of these pieces go for? Estimates run the gamut, from US$1,000 for a set of two monogrammed bags from Louis Vuitton by Yayoi Kusama to US$40,000 for a black crocodile-skin Birkin with fuchsia trim.

“Back then, brands didn’t produce very many pieces,” Weisser said. “Some of these items are so rare that we challenge anyone to go find one.”

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What Goes Around Comes Around 25th Anniversary Auction, September 18, at 11am, at Christie’s New York. For more information: Christies.com