Famous owner fails to add value to frock collection

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The Independent Online
A large collection of dresses belonging to TV personality Janet Street-Porter was yesterday auctioned for a total of only pounds 3,000 - half the amount it was expected to raise.

The collection of 65 different items were sold in 26 lots at Christie's, in Kensington, west London.

The eclectic and colourful collection included items designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, Rifat Ozbeck and Vivienne Westwood. Many of the items sold were designed specifically for Ms Street-Porter.

One lot, which included a Westwood-designed cheesecloth T-shirt with the punk slogan "God Save The Queen" on it, was bought by contemporary art dealer Paul Stolper, who said he was more interested in the T-shirt's designer than in its former owner.

Mr Stolper, 32, from west London, said: "I bought it because I have a huge collection of early Vivienne Westwood. I'm not interested in Janet Street-Porter and that was irrelevant to me in buying this."

A loud cocktail dress of metallic pink acetate was bought by Simon Smith, who runs a fancy-dress party clothes rental company of the same name in Brighton.

Mr Smith, 32, said the provenance of the dress might possibly make it more in demand from his shop but believed its main selling point would be that it would fit most customers, adding: "It's a size medium."

The first lot, described in the Christie's catalogue as a "flamboyant tunic" and covered in multi-coloured sequins and beads was bought by Ms Street-Porter's former employers, the cable channel Live TV, which sent its news bunny to do the bidding.

After the auction, the news bunny was coy about what exactly would happen to the dress, but added: "We'll probably give it to Oxfam."

After the sale, Christie's spokeswoman, Jill Potterton, told reporters: "I think that Janet Street Porter has a very individual personal style which possibly does not appeal to everybody. But there were some good prices here today although it may be Janet's taste doesn't appeal."