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YSL’S BIG HIT: The world’s stock markets may be gyrating as concerns grow over the economy, but there is clearly still money around — just ask the folks at Christie’s handling the Yves Saint Laurent art auction. On the second day of the three-day sale, several lots blew through their high estimates, including Franz Hals’ “Portrait of a Man Holding a Book,” which sold for 3 million euros, or $3.8 million, versus an estimate of 1.2 million euros, or $1.5 million; Thomas Gainsborough’s “Portrait of Giusto Ferdinando Tanducci,” which more than tripled its estimate, selling for 1.9 million euros, or $2.4 million, and several of the Art Deco pieces. The stunners were Eileen Gray’s “Dragon Chair,” which sold for 19.5 million euros, or $24.6 million, versus its estimate of 3 million euros, or $3.8 million; Gray’s “Satellite Suspension,” which sold for 2.6 million euros, or $3.3 million, versus an estimated 800,000 euros, or $1 million, and François Xavier Lalande’s bar for Saint Laurent, which went for 2.4 million euros, or $3 million, versus an estimated 300,000 euros, or $380,000. The big sales followed the first day Monday, when the Impressionist and Modern Art auction brought in over $264 million.
FANCY FOOTWORK: Victoria Beckham may very well need an extra pair of shoes during Milan’s ready-to-wear shows, where she is expected to make a few appearances. Starting with the French luxury shoemaker Vouelle, the former Spice Girl will drop in on a private luncheon hosted by the brand at the Hotel Principe di Savoia on Monday. The Beckhams could be spending more time in Milan as David Beckham is hoping to extend his stay with Italian soccer club AC Milan past March. (Beckham is currently on loan until March 10 from American team L.A. Galaxy.)
HONEST, IT’S TRUE: Kevin Federline, aka K-Fed, is the latest celebrity wannabe to throw his hat in the fashion design ring. Best known as Britney Spears’ ex-husband, the former backup dancer-turned-would-be rapper has now set his sights on a children’s clothing line, and is in talks with Gerard Guez about a licensing deal. Federline, who made an overnight stop at the Project trade show in Las Vegas in the interest of research, stayed overnight at the Venetian and said he was looking around at the styles and was hoping to be inspired by what he saw. “It’s a really tough business, I’m trying to take it seriously and make a quality product for kids but not have parents pay like $500 or something ridiculous for a pair of jeans,” he said, bemoaning the perils of buying expensive clothing for the two sons he has with Spears. “You buy your kids a pair of True Religions then they roll around in the dirt like kids do and a $200 pair of jeans is gone. With this economy, I’m looking to do something much more reasonable.” No word yet on the name of the line or a potential release date.
LUXURY, THE L.A. WAY: The recession is redefining luxury in the City of Angels. In the case of Rodarte, it means excluding pants from its new fall collection. “All anyone ever talks about is the economy, and we don’t sell our pants anyway,” said Kate Mulleavy, who designs Rodarte in nearby Pasadena with her sister, Laura. “So screw it. We won’t make them.” Mulleavy shared her thoughts on creating clothes in an era when consumers might not have the money or desire for buying them at a panel on Monday night at the Hammer Museum. For Christina Kim, founder of the artisanal line Dosa, taking the time to hand-stitch delicate handkerchiefs purchased off eBay into an exotic jacket is a luxury. Tom Binns, who has mocked the rarefied jewelry world with ornate necklaces displaying glass picked off the beach and pendants etched with the phrase “Big F*** Off Diamond,” explained his theory of value: “I make these things valuable. It’s how you look at it.” The audience, which included designer Jasmin Shokrian and stylist Arianne Phillips, didn’t need much convincing. Known for her collaboration with Madonna, Phillips said luxury connotes “handmade, quality, worth in construction.” Indeed, denim guru Adriano Goldschmied predicted the future by referencing the past. “Luxury will go back to what it was before,” he said. “It’s not about mass production anymore….Even if [customers] can’t afford it, at least you give them a dream. A dream, in my opinion, is the engine for our work.”
BREAKFAST CLUB: Most women don’t want to socialize — let alone be seen — before they’ve had their first cup of coffee, but the well-heeled crowd that gathered at Bergdorf Goodman’s BG Restaurant on Tuesday made an exception for a good cause. The occasion was a kick off breakfast to celebrate the annual fashion show to benefit New York Presbyterian’s Lying-In Hospital, which will take place at Cipriani 42nd Street in May. In anticipation, Akris, the host of this year’s festivities, put on a small-scale presentation of their spring looks. At the main event, the Swiss label will send its fall collection down the runway.