Catherine Deneuve’s auction of haute couture fetches $1 million

One suit from the French actress’s collection of vintage YSL set a world-record sale price

epa07308952 A collection of dresses, suits and accessories created by Yves Saint-Laurent (YSL) from the wardrobe of the French actress Catherine Deneuve are presented during an auction preview at Christie's auction house in Paris, France, 22 January 2019. The pieces will go under the hammer at Christie's 'Catherine Deneuve et Yves Saint-Laurent' sale held within the scope of the Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture on 24 January.  EPA/CAROLINE BLUMBERG
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A much-anticipated sale of Catherine Deneuve’s personal wardrobe smashed estimates on Friday (January 25), with a five-hour auction surpassing $1 million.

The French actress put hundreds of haute couture outfits from her late friend, designer Yves Saint Laurent, under the hammer at auction house Christie's in Paris.

Every outfit from the 129-lot sale was snapped up on the day – including one piece, which went for a record price.

FILE PHOTO: Actor Catherine Deneuve arrives for the fashion house Saint Laurent's show during Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France, September 25, 2018. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo
Catherine Deneuve arrives for the Saint Laurent show during Paris Fashion Week in September 2018. Reuters

A custom-made Le Smoking tuxedo – a signature design of the French-Algerian designer – fetched €20,000 (Dh84,000), the most ever paid for a YSL Le Smoking suit sold at auction.

Other highlights included a beaded evening dress worn by Deneuve to a film premiere with Alfred Hitchcock in 1969, which went for €42,500 (Dh178,000), far exceeding a pre-sale estimate of up to €5,000 (Dh21,000).

A metallic gold gown worn by the actress to the 2000 Academy Awards sold for €33,700 (Dh141,000), while an autumn/winter 1977 chiffon blouse, scarf and taffeta skirt sold for €52,500 (Dh220,000) claimed the title of the event’s most expensive purchase.

In total, €900,625 (Dh3.77 million) was raised on the day, according to Christie’s, with online bidding on a further 170 lots still open until January 30.

“This week, with highlights including the view and the auction itself, has been a new experience for me and has exceeded my expectations in many ways,” Deneuve said in a statement.

“I would like to thank Christie’s for the beautiful catalogue and the fact they paid tribute to YSL’s talent by presenting his creations in such an exquisite way at the preview, attended by thousands of people. I sincerely hope that the new owners will enjoy these pieces of couture as much as I did.”

Yves Saint Laurent and Catherine Deneuve in 1982. Courtesy of Christie's
Yves Saint Laurent and Catherine Deneuve in 1982. Courtesy of Christie's

Deneuve and Saint Laurent shared a long and enduring friendship, with the designer creating many custom pieces for the Belle de Jour star until his death in 2008. The 75-year-old actress was a long-time muse of Saint Laurent's, after the pair first met in 1965, when Deneuve commissioned a dress from the couturier for a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.

“His consummate gravitas during the fittings together with his shy charm outside the atelier made all the years we shared so enchanting – our silent complicity, our crazy laughter and our melancholy brought us together,” Deneuve said in a statement ahead of the auction.

“These are creations by such a talented man, who only designed to make women more beautiful.”

The star put her collection of couture up for auction after selling her home in Normandy, where the pieces had been stored. She has not yet revealed plans for the funds raised from the sale.