AUCTIONS

Does street fashion mean 'Anarchy in the UK' T-shirts, silk underwear or tweed Chanel suits? All of this, according to Christie's
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Indy Lifestyle Online
What street fashion is collectable? Last year, when Christie's South Kensington held its first auction of street fashion, some of us expected gear closer to the gutter than the smart Sixties, mainly women's designer styles that dominated it. Almost all the 81 lots were sold.

The second, 279-lot sale, at 2pm on Tuesday, gives an even clearer picture of the togs we should be sheltering from the moths: post-war outfits for either trendy lambs or trendy mutton.

A Sixties Chanel suit of yellow checked tweed, with flapped hip pockets and gilt interlocked C buttons, is estimated to fetch pounds 300-pounds 400. There is even "the property of a lady of title": a Thirties neglige of pink chiffon trimmed with black lace straps and bands, in the same lot as a collection of silk underwear - without estimate, indicating that Christie's values it at under pounds 100. The indignity of it! "Lady of title" should go back to advertising her glad-rags in The Lady.

Formerly owned by Coco Chanel is a handbag of black quilted jersey with gilt chain strap, estimated at pounds 400-pounds 600. It has been vamping around since Coco's time, having been sold for pounds 200 - about pounds 600 in today's money - at Christie's auction devoted to Chanel's personal possessions in 1978.

There is also museum-quality Sixties women's wear such as a white gabardine coat and dress ensemble trimmed with black leatherette squares, labelled Fortnum & Mason, pounds 100-pounds 150.

Punk there is, but it is designer stuff, too. Last year's success of Vivienne Westwood - one of her mohair jumpers fetched pounds 550 - has brought to auction more of her fashion. A pair of tartan Seditionaries Personal Collection bondage trousers with black towelling bum-flap carries an estimate of pounds 500-pounds 600. Cotton T-shirts with slogans such as Anarchy in the UK are for sale at pounds 150-pounds 250 for four, about a quarter of West End dealers' prices. The cast-offs of titled ladies keep strange company.

A Fifties Savile Row teddy-boy suit of blue wool trimmed with black velvet (pounds 150-pounds 200) comes with a "collection of costume" offered by the same vendor. Christie's indiscreetly revealed that this consists of two handbags. I always did think those teddy boys were misunderstood.

Sotheby's annual sale of rock 'n' roll and film memorabilia, at 10.30am on Wednesday and Thursday, is bigger than ever. Where do these mounds of autographed record covers, photographs and guitars come from?

Three lots in the sale explain why John Lennon was always bumping into things: people kept nicking his specs. A pair of his National Health metal-rimmed glasses, est pounds 2,000-pounds 3,000, have a snapped ear-piece and are tied up with string. They are catalogued as the property of Pete Best (remember him?). Lennon is said to have sat on them accidentally while at Best's house in 1961 to discuss Brian Epstein's offer of a contract.

Two more pairs of Lennon's specs, yellow-tinted, come from the collection of Mr and Mrs Ken Brunt, who between 1967 and 1970 were transport managers for Apple, the Beatles' music company. They carry estimates of pounds 3,000- pounds 4,000 and pounds 8,000-pounds 10,000. At least the auctioneers can see straight.

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