LONDON — Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano collectors rejoice: on June 20, the first of two auctions of fashion archivist, consultant and stylist Steven Philip’s collection of vintage clothing will be sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London.
Up for sale are pieces of fashion history, including a complete ensemble from Westwood’s 1981 Pirates collection and a waistcoat with a matching sketch from Galliano’s graduate Central Saint Martins’ Incroyable collection.
Kerry Taylor, founder of the eponymous auction house, said the auction came together organically.
“He’s been one of my best clients over the years. I mean, there’s hardly an auction gone by that he’s not been sitting there bidding away, glaring at other people bidding against him,” she said.
For Philip, accruing these highly collectible pieces was more than a job. Rather, it’s a passion he’s been working atfor more than 25 years.
“I didn’t want to just have a piece from a collection. If it was the Pirates collection, for example, I just didn’t want the jacket. I wanted to complete a jigsaw, so it’d be a full ensemble of what the designer wanted to go on the catwalk,” the archivist explained.
Part of the joy of collecting vintage clothing is its ability to tell a story for the stylist. Take lot 122, a Peruvian-inspired knit hat from the Christian Dior fall 2002 collection, described by WWD as “a cross-cultural joy ride.”
“That hat changed a lot for me. It was something that you would never expect from a house at that level at that time, if you think how prim Dior was 20 years before that,” he said.
“It showed Galliano’s strength, changing the house and making it available to everybody,” he added.
Taylor cites the John Galliano printed Vultures kimono, from his acclaimed collection The Ludic Game as one of her favorite pieces.
“For me, it’s a really important piece. The print, which has got these strange vultures, was designed by a fellow student of Galliano’s from Saint Martins. The whole thing is very sort of raw and unique,” she said.
Also on the auction block are pieces from Alexander McQueen, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons.
Now that he’s completed this jigsaw, Philip said he plans to focus on starting a new puzzle, this time centering around collecting from up-and-coming designers.
“I want to work more with young designers now and younger people. I surround myself with people that are enthusiastic, and that’s why I promote people like Charles Jeffrey, who was told he’d never be a designer,” he said.
On June 21, a secondary auction will take place with items from Philip and various anonymous sellers.
Items include a creations from Simon Costin for Alexander McQueen’s Dante and The Birds, as well as an Issey Miyake Plastic Body breastplate.