“The emotion you get from clothes is not so much from a garment itself as from the experience of it.” Thus spoke Suzy Menkes, OBE, the venerable fashion reporter at the International Herald Tribune, and woman of the hour during last night’s private view of In My Fashion, the auction of her wardrobe at Christie’s.
As you might expect, designers turned out in force to raise a glass of champagne (or nonalcoholic lychee fizz) in Menkes’ honor and take a gander at her collection of clothes: Christopher Kane, Simone Rocha, a very pregnant Charlotte Dellal. Stephen Jones snuck in late, while L’Wren Scott and Mick Jagger ducked out early, in order to go to a party for the Rolling Stones. But even Mick couldn’t shift the spotlight off Menkes, who should take her signature coiffure and get a fashion talk show, post-haste. The evening was capped by a panel discussion featuring Menkes, Jasper Conran, Alice Rawsthorn, Mary Katrantzou, and Erdem Moralioglu; Menkes regaled the assembled crowd with memories of wearing her YSL pantsuits (the perfect uniform for a working mother, she said) and her Lacroix. Menkes began collecting clothes, she recalled, after she befriended a niece of Emilio Pucci’s at Cambridge; invited to holiday at the family palazzo in Florence, she found herself knee-deep in a sample sale. “And spent every last lira,” Menkes confessed with a laugh.
Pucci was amply represented in the sale; so too Ossie Clark, another designer whose sample sales Menkes recalled fondly. “The one piece I’ll never forget is the one that got away,” she explained. “It was a canary-yellow dress, and Bianca Jagger was at the sale as well, and she said, ‘Suzy, this color is not for you’ as she snatched it away.” Menkes paused for a comedic beat. “I’m waiting for her sale, so I can buy it back.”