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Strauss & Co to auction South African vintage couture
May '13
Strauss & Co, in conjunction with the charity Vintage, with Love, are staging an auction of vintage couture from the personal archives of the legendary South African couturier, Chris Levin.

The first of its kind in South Africa, this sale builds on the notable worldwide demand for vintage fashion offering every fashionista the opportunity to bid on an array of timeless vintage garments coveted by celebrities, socialites and trendsetters alike. The sale takes place on Thursday 16 May 2013 at 6pm in the Wanderers Club Ballroom and represents an exciting addition to the Strauss & Co auction repertoire.

Works of art in their own right, the 50 garments will be fittingly displayed against a backdrop of important South African and international art by celebrated artists including Irma Stern, JH Pierneef, Frans Oerder, Jean Welz and William Kentridge, amongst others, set to go under the hammer on Monday 20 May 2013. 

The story that prompted Chris Levin to approach Strauss & Co about the sale of his personal collection lies in the historic sale in 2011 by Christie’s New York, The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor: The Icon and her Haute Couture.

Amongst the creations of international giants of couture, the likes of Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy and Valentino, was Lot 359, a Chris Levin white ostrich feather evening cape made for the actress in 1975 when she and Richard Burton came to South Africa for their honeymoon. It sold for an astonishing US$30 000.

Trained in the Western Cape, Chris Levin’s name is synonymous with quality, luxurious fabrics, exquisite workmanship and the finest attention to detail. Recognised leaders in the business, political, diplomatic, social and cultural spheres, his clientele included South African and international women of substance, including Marike de Klerk, First Lady of South Africa, who sported tailor-made Chris Levin garments at many important state events.

He created gowns for South Africa’s first operatic diva, Mimi Coertse and for popular singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, ‘Princess of Africa’. He was also involved in the creation of corporate wear for national and international airlines, including South African Airways, amongst others.

Stephan Welz, Managing Director of Strauss & Co comments: “We are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to sell such an important and wonderful collection by this South African-born design legend.”

This unique sale in the history of South African fashion, also includes a number of his original design sketches and a selection of couture accessories that have been donated by Vintage, with Love. These will benefit their charitable funds. Strauss & Co is donating its commissions from the auction to the charity, Vintage, with Love, an inspiring initiative to raise much-needed funds for illiteracy in our country.

The charity was the brainchild of Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly and Leigh Ord. The Shine Centre and The Click Foundation that will be benefitting from this auction, run school reading programmes at the foundation stage ensuring that, when children reach the crucial ages of nine and ten, they are able to read well and therefore continue their studies in an effective manner.

Strauss & Co

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