Olivia de Havilland couture collection preview- Hindman Chicago Fall Fashion Auction highlights

Christian Dior Haute Couture Day Dress and Belt, Autumn/Winter 1954, worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland on the day before her wedding to Pierre Galante
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Auction will include Parisian haute couture and Hollywood designs worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland and more. Catalogue is available online now and the auction is September 17, 2019. 

 Hindman’s Haute Couture and Luxury Fall Fashion sale, featuring vintage haute couture and Hollywood designs worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland, wearable early 20th century dresses, unique designs from iconic designers, includes 400 lots, and takes place online on September 17, 2019 beginning at 10 a.m. Central Standard Time.

An in-person preview will be held from September 12th  through September 16th at Hindman Chicago, 1338 W Lake Street. On display at Hindman is a breathtaking portion of the auctions highlights, iconic legendary actress Dame Olivia de Havilland’s collection of Parisian haute couture and Hollywood designs from 1954 to 1989.

Christian Dior Haute Couture Ensemble, Autumn/Winter 1957, worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland

Dame Olivia de Havilland (b.1916) is a British-American actress with an impressive career in film from 1935, during the Golden Age in Hollywood cinema, to the late 1980s, when she stopped acting. De Havilland is one of the  greatest actresses of all time, with a career that includes nearly 50 feature films. One of her most remembered roles was Melanie Hamilton in Gone with the Wind(1939), in which she plays Scarlet O’Hara’s sister-in-law. 

De Havilland, a lifelong devotee of the House of Christian Dior, collected designs by Dior himself, as well as by Yves Saint Laurent and Marc Bohan for Christian Dior. A number of beautifully preserved bespoke designs can be seen at the preview, for sale at the auction. 

Three Dior ensembles on offer at the auction were actually worn by Ms.de Havilland for her roles in movies, including Light in the Piazza (1962) and Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964). Also included is a coat worn for her role in the Broadway production of A Gift of Time (1961), and designs worn to premieres and special showings of films including a 1961 showing of Gone with the Wind (1939). 

Christian Dior by Marc Bohan Haute Couture Dress, (with inner bodice and shoes), Spring/Summer 1964, worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland in the 1964 movie “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”

Each of the garments required a minimum of three personal fittings, and they look today, hanging in pristine perfection on the racks at Hindman, as though de Havilland had just stepped out of them. The essence of her dainty, feminine form is expressed by the subtlety of the tailoring, the clean, clear lines. Vividly colored, the hems and finishes exquisitely hand-rolled and the shaping an exercise in perfection, they appear today much as they looked when they left the atelier. An unusual and particularly intriguing aspect of this collection is the extent that the pieces are preserved as outfits: skirts with blouses, dresses with coats,  (one with an interior corset) and in a nearby case are displayed shoes, hats and bags to match.

As always, Timothy Long, Hindman’s Director and Senior Specialist of Couture and Luxury Accessories has taken enormous care in carrying out the curating of these masterpieces of couture. He expressed great appreciation at how closely the family worked with him to put together the collection, in situ with photographs of the star wearing certain articles of the clothing. Long showed me the meticulous Christian Dior labels inside, which reflect the date and season of creation, and are inscribed with a number that allows The House of Dior to look up intricate details of provenance. Ever attentive to nuances of fabric, cut and excellence of workmanship, Long pointed out one particularly magnificent sleeveless dress entirely composed of intricate layers of hand-crafted, hand-sewn, and hand-positioned lace flowers over an exquisitely fine mesh slip base. “See how the lace is actually molded to the shape of the body!”, he exclaimed.

“Dame Olivia de Havilland is a timeless fashion icon and this couture collection is nothing short of historical, both for its connection to the Hollywood star and for its intrinsic value in the history of fashion,” said Long. “Olivia’s collection, along with the auction’s other offerings, must not be missed by fashion experts and enthusiasts alike.” He mused, “This group is a quite personal and nostalgic- as well as culturally significant- aspect of our Fall Fashion Auction. Preview attendees and auction bidders would do well not to miss the very special evening gowns designed by Hollywood costume designers Edith Head and Paul Zastupnevich, worn by Ms. de Havilland to present, accept, and attend at awards ceremonies”.

Christian Dior by Marc Bohan Haute Couture Ensemble, Autumn/Winter 1973, worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland

In addition to the Christian Dior clothing and accessories, the collection includes six paper programs, printed by the House of Christian Dior, detailing the garments included in Paris fashion shows attended by de Havilland. Each program features hand-written notes by the actress, including her thoughts on the collection and scheduling details. With these programs are two photographic prints, provided with the clothing, of de Havilland with Christian Dior himself.

Hindman 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 fall and winter sales. To contact Hindman’s Chicago headquarters, visit hindmanauctions.com or call 312.280.1212.

 Hindman is one of the nation’s leading fine art auction houses offering holistic solutions that connect cities nationwide to the global art market by providing expertise across all categories, sales channels and price points. Hindman 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, Asian works of art, Arts of the American west, numismatics, and more. Hindman was formed through the acquisition of two premier auction houses, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers (est.1982) and Cowan’s Auctions (est. 1995). Headquartered in Chicago, Hindman is home to 150 employees, with additional offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Milwaukee, Naples, Palm Beach, Scottsdale and St. Louis. Visit hindmanauctions.com for more information.

Christian Dior by Marc Bohan Haute Couture Ensemble, Spring/Summer 1964, worn by Dame Olivia de Havilland on the cover of her 1961 book “Every Frenchman Has one”

All photos courtesy of Hindman LLC.



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