Get an up close, last look at some of the late, great Lee Alexander McQueen’s most iconic and controversial designs at a pop-up exhibition at the New-York Historical Society Feb. 15-17, before they are auctioned off for what is likely to be big bucks. The installation features 23 items — some one-of-a-kind — owned, preserved and maintained for decades by London-based fashion designer Ruti Danan, who worked in McQueen’s studio from 1994 to 1996.
“I have kept these pieces hidden too long and the responsibility to maintain these pieces became too big,” says Danan. She’s timed the auction to coincide with global fashion weeks, “when (McQueen’s) presence is especially felt . . . and when people talk about the impact of shows to tell the story of a designer’s vision.”
The display will include McQueen’s cheeky “bumster” trousers, and pieces from his most critically acclaimed and provocative collections, including “Highland Rape” and “Dante,” where he established his reputation as a brilliant fashion renegade.
Then everything is up for bidding, beginning Feb. 18 at Boston-based RR Auction.
“You don’t come across an archive like this very often with original drawings, dress patterns and garments,” says Bobby Livingston, executive vice president of the auction house.
Livingston says the collection centers on work designed, “before he had any money. Lee made a lot of these by hand himself.” He believes that a black military “Dante” coat is the MVP (as in Most Valuable Piece) of the collection.
Estimated winning bid? A mere $150,000. “It’s just incredible. And there are many collectors who would purchase a McQueen like this for six figures,” says Livingston, who expects that museums, institutions and private collectors will compete for the most coveted items.
Other big ticket items include a “Highland Rape” tartan, an open front jacket with a circle peplum and original pattern estimated at $100,000, and a Chinese silk slashed panel jacket and trousers suit from “The Hunger Collection,” estimated at $80,000. For McQueen-obsessed collectors with shallower pockets, a “Highland Rape” backstage pass and program will be up for auction, expected to fetch $200 each. “There’s something for everybody here,” Livingston says. We really hope it’s not just collectors who come to the exhibit, but also students and people who love fashion too.”
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West; NYHistory.org
Admission: Adults $22, seniors and educators, $17, students $13
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