Though Karl Lagerfeld is remembered as a prolific designer who spearheaded the collections at Chanel, Fendi, and his own label, he often ventured outside of fashion, creating furniture, art, and even cars. His personal collection reflected this multi-hyphenate approach. Lagerfeld was a noted collector of art in all forms, and a new auction from Sotheby’s offers a rare glimpse into his eclectic, one-of-a-kind world.
Part one of the Karl Lagerfeld estate sale was hosted in Monaco December 3–5 (part two will be held in Paris on December 14 and 15). It featured more than 1,000 lots from Lagerfeld’s personal residences in France and Monaco, including a portrait of the designer by Takashi Murakami, scrapbooks created by Lagerfeld himself, and a telegram from Marlene Dietrich. It’s worth noting that many of the lots in the sale went for much higher bids than their estimated prices, a testament to his indelible legacy.
The top-bid pieces were the vehicles that Lagerfeld once owned. The highest-selling item was a black Rolls-Royce Phantom 2018, which sold for 436,000 euros. A Rolls-Royce Cullinan Bleu 2019 came in second, going for 369,450 euros, while a Rolls-Royce Phantom Dropped Coupé Grise 2017 went for 375,500 euros.
The artworks owned by Lagerfeld were also some of the highest-selling items in the sale. The portrait of the designer by Murakami fetched 289,800 euros, while another portrait—by designer Gianni Versace—sold for 94,500 euros. Items that offered a glimpse into Lagerfeld’s creative mind and process were also especially desirable. Three inspiration scrapbooks he created in the mid-1980s sold for 151,200 euros. Filled with photos, sketches, and notes, they’re a compelling document of the artist at work. Two of Lagerfeld’s work binders, with clippings dating back to the 1950s, went for 189,000 euros.
Collectors were also anxious to own a piece of Lagerfeld’s closet. The designer was known for wearing black blazers, and the sale included multiple styles by Yves Saint Laurent and Dior Homme. Five pairs of Chanel lambskin gloves—another Lagerfeld signature—circa 2000 sold for 47,880 euros.
Two years after his passing, it’s clear that Lagerfeld’s influence is still very much felt, and serious collectors are now wanting to own a piece of fashion history through his far-ranging estate. Each piece essentially serves as a memento, representing his enduring love of good art and design. And with the finale of the sale around the corner, the bidding will likely only intensify.