Hindman LLC Spans the Centuries with Spring Fashion and Accessories Sale

Detail from one of four custom-made bustiers worn by Natalie Cole
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Hindman LLC’s Spring Fashion and Accessories Sale featuring couture design clothing, luxury accessories and more: APRIL 8, 2019 ONLINE ONLY: Auction Includes Rare and One of a Kind Pieces Spanning More Than 200 Years

On Monday, April 8, 2019 at 10 a.m CT Hindman LLC will be presenting their Spring Fashion and Accessories: 1800 – 2015 sale, featuring 600+ dazzling pieces from world class designers including Chanel, Christian Dior, Oscar de la Renta, Moschino, Yves Saint Laurent and many more iconic fashion giants.

The catalog is currently available for viewing and absentee bidding

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (est.1982) and Cowan’s Auctions (est.1995) were acquired in 2019 by Hindman LLC. Together they form one of the nation’s leading fine art auction houses, headquartered in Chicago, offering holistic solutions that connect cities nationwide to the global art market by providing expertise across all categories, sales channels and price points. 

Hindman LLC operates more salerooms in the United States than any other auction house and conducts over 100 auctions a year in categories such as fine jewelry and timepieces, contemporary art, 20th century design, rare books, furniture, decorative arts, couture and luxury accessories, Asian works of art, Arts of the American west, numismatics, and more.

The very special items available at the Spring Fashion and Accessories: 1800 – 2015 sale were collected from within the United States and range from contemporary, wearable fashion to museum quality 19th century Parisian haute couture.

Timothy Long, Director and Senior Specialist, Luxury Accessories and Couture Department, Hindman LLC

I was able to tour the auction offerings under the guidance of Timothy Long, Director, Senior Specialist, luxury accessories and couture department, Hindman LLC, and interview him about the scope and unique nature of the offerings to be made available at the upcoming auction. The affable and charismatic expert displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of couture, as well as the details of fabrication, preservation, and restoration. 

Artfully displayed in the enormous space at Hindman LLC, were racks of colorfully gorgeous, meticulously distributed garments, ranged in order of time of creation, as well as grouped by provenance. It was impossible to take in all of the details of even one piece. Ballooning stiff brocaded sleeves of costumes designed for the Lyric Opera were interspersed with demure Lesage tweed Chanel jackets. Hand-beaded, sequin encrusted plunging bustiers made for stage performance were arrayed next to sweet slippery silk skirts by Atelier Versace. Swatches of Victorian lace nightgowns lay next to white Courréges sunglasses. Judith Lieber animal minaudières winked at one across from frothy Givenchy scarves.

In fact, an impressive and significant portion of the auction’s offerings lay in tall, pristine glass cases ranged about the room containing beautifully crafted costume jewelry, eyeglasses, scarves, shoes and handbags, often immediately recognizable as to couture house, and obviously of the very height of construction, examples of the work of Versace, Jimmy Choo, Hermés, Chanel, Ferragamo, Gucci, etc.

Here and there on pedestals were put on view some of the finest pieces of the dressmakers art from the past 2 centuries. 

Beginning my whirlwind tour examining a black stiff watered silk outsize gown by Emile Pingat, whose outline, with high neck, long sleeves, restrained lace and modified bustle called to mind Nancy Lincoln, my eyes were riveted on a cream moiré silk evening gown with deep guipure lace trimmed decollétage enhanced by metallic looped fleur de lís and cunning puffed ruffled sleeves designed by the Father of Haute Couture, Charles Frederick Worth. These 2 pieces alone would provide any museum with reason to rejoice. 

Across the aisle was a deceptively simple seeming yet superbly shapely and timeless black dress with an endless row of buttons down the front created by Norman Norell, an acknowledged master of tailored construction who, by the mid 20th century dominated the American fashion industry. Next to this utterly desirable piece was a very rare and spectacularly materially entwined early Junya Watanabe for Commes des Garcons sweater, indisputably one of the highlights of the collection, cream colored, with a wildly clever foldover hanging panel and slits for the head and arms.

Commes des Garçons knit sweater, circa 1982

After a modest biographical sketch of his most impressive education and background, including stints with the Chicago History Museum and the Museum of London, Long explained why this couture sale, the first he’s overseen at Hindman LLC, is so significant.

“I wanted to make a splash with this show in the context of the growth and change at Hindman LLC.  This auction offers a wider range of pieces than our Couture Department has sold in the past, and we are embracing the storytelling nature of exhibitions. Whether bidders are interested in contemporary fashion, historical haute couture or costume jewelry from popular brands, they are sure to find something to love among these exciting collections.”

Long continued, “The target audience ranges from those who buy to wear, those who buy to sell, and those who buy to collect; museums, those who do historical reenactments,  costume creators and researchers are expected to be among the bidders”.

 Long emphasized how unusual it is to find designs from the late 18th Century and French Second Empire all the way through the present. “These are items of rare provenance and of museum quality. Pingat and Worth gave birth to the modern fashion industry we have today; from their work, the entire fashion industry was born.”

Focusing on my own favorites, I asked Long about the impact of the original French masters on the prominent Japanese designers in the show, whose work is often described as “minimalist” or “deconstructed”. “The Japanese designers- Issey Miyake, Commes des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto- were first masters of construction and design; from this thorough expertise, they were then able to deconstruct. They made an enormous impact with their vision and the wearability of the garments, which are artistic puzzles that cause you to think about the meaning of clothing as art.”

Finally, before he had to return to his work, Long confided, “Finding the untouched collection of Versace on Long Island was, of course, thrilling. But as a former museum director who has curated major exhibitions, I found great joy also in researching these items, watching videos of the runway exhibitions, seeing people like Linda Evangelista on the catwalk in these very clothes. The objects in the auction are historical artworks with stories to tell.”

Charles Frederick Worth haute couture dress, circa 1896


Vintage Haute Couture

A collection of 19thcentury haute couture including a variety of rare items created by three of the top 19th century Parisian couturiers: Charles Frederick Worth, Emile Pingat and Jacques Doucet.

The Golden Age of Couture

Featuring designs from Christian Dior, one of the most influential couturiers of the twentieth century, this collection also includes pieces by other iconic designers including Jacques Fath, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Elsa Schiaparelli and Yves Saint Laurent.

Japanese Couture

Showcasing unique designs by the top Japanese designers who influenced Western fashion beginning in the 1970’s. Hanae Mori, Issey Miyake and both  Rei Kawakubo and  Junya Watanabe for Commes des Garcons ushered in a new era in fashion by challenging the status quo and celebrating imperfection, deconstruction and androgyny. 

Natalie Cole

Offering a large variety of clothing worn by the late singer, songwriter and actress, this collection features numerous custom-made evening gowns and stage ensembles worn to events including concerts and awards ceremonies. Couture and ready-to-wear designers in this collection include Alexander McQueen, Jovani, Fabrice, Vivienne Westwood and J&M Costumers Hollywood.

Gianni Versace Accessories


An important grouping of (mostly unworn) couture pieces by Versace are available in this auction, including Atelier Versace pieces from 1993 to 2006. The collection includes day wear, evening wear, ensembles, and accessories and demonstrates the company’s transition from designs by Gianni Versace to his sister Donatella’s artistic direction.

Luxury Accessories

Including luxury accessories from Hermès, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and more, this collection offers handbags made in colorful leathers and exotic skins as well as rare costume jewelry.

Hindman LLC conducts over 100 auctions annually and appraises thousands of objects throughout the year in addition to handling major single-owner collections. The firm is currently accepting consignments for summer, fall and winter sales. To contact the Chicago office of Hindman LLC, visit lesliehindman.com/chicago   and cowansauctions.com for more information.

Chanel Cambon tote; Judith Lieber Cat Minaudière

All photos courtesy of Hindman LLC 


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