SOTHEBY’S TO SHUTTER ITS NY FASHION OFFICE
NEW YORK — Sotheby’s is closing its fashion office here and will only sell vintage apparel through its London office or its Web site.
Marianna Garthwaite Klaimann, the former director of the office, said the closing is due to the restructuring that Sotheby’s has been going through, which has resulted in cutbacks in various areas.
“Fashion is still a hot category, but sometimes these things fall at the wrong time,” she said. Klaimann is moving to a position in the auction house’s marketing department but will still oversee any fashion activities, and said Sotheby’s isn’t turning its back on fashion collections in the U.S. “And who knows, as our Web site’s sales and visibility increase, down the road they may decide to reopen.”
The London Sotheby’s, which Klaimann said has a much more established fashion auction tradition, will continue to hold its annual live auction, as well as contribute to the online site. Klaimann said that “dealer associates,” who are vintage dealers contracted by Sotheby’s to handle various items, will also keep items coming into its Web site here.
While Sotheby’s fashion office was not the first of its kind in New York — Doyle’s has auctioned fashion for years — its creation, under the direction of vintage-clothing guru Tiffany Dubin, was credited with giving fashion auctions and collections greater importance. In the past few years, the office has auctioned paper dresses, Pucci separates, jewelry worn by Marilyn Monroe and a vintage Sixties Playboy bunny costume.