French, circa 1917
Estimate: $12,000-18,000
This extraordinary coat by legendary designer Paul Poiret is made of French blue ribbed silk, and features turned back cuffs held up with Oriental style silk loops and gilt-metal buttons. The collar, cuffs and deep hem are trimmed with black velvet and gold metallic cord, and the collar is further trimmed with beaver. It is labeled Paul Poiret a Paris and Marshall Field & Co./Chicago.
Paul Poiret served in the French military during World War I. His major contribution to the war effort was to create a design for the overcoats worn by French soldiers that minimized the amount of fabric needed by cutting the front and back from one piece of material, to which the sleeves were then sewn. Cut in the same manner, the coat in the auction is possibly a fashionable version of that design. It may also be part of the original collection Poiret produced in 1917 to bring to the U.S. for American stores to copy and sell. That project never went further than the production of the original models. This coat may be part of that collection, although further research is necessary to determine whether the originals ever came to the United States.

Recalling images of Jane Austen’s heroines is a significant group of early 19th century American Empire clothing descended from a prominent New England family. This remarkable collection features an array of finely embroidered muslin dresses, and a lovely pelisse (light-weight coat) of silvery blue silk adorned with braids and buttons in military fashion. Among the offerings are bonnets, shawls, men’s linen shirts, 18th century damask shoes and other items in extraordinary condition.

Doyle New York is honored to bring to auction property from the estate of one of the fashion world’s legendary figures, Carrie Donovan. A 1950 graduate of Parsons School of Design, Ms. Donovan’s career of more than thirty years took her from a post as fashion journalist for The New York Times, to being an editor for Vogue, Harper’s Baazar and The New York Times Magazine. Wearing her trademark pearls and oversized glasses, she began a second career in 1997 with a series of television commercials for Old Navy.
Highlighting the collection are two pen and ink caricature drawings of Ms. Donovan by Al Hirschfeld, as well as an assortment of accessories and costume jewelry, featuring impressive, oversized runway cuffs encrusted with faux pearls. The selection of memorabilia includes photographs and letters from friends and celebrities, among them Liza Minnelli, Nancy Reagan and Halston.

The auction offers a glittering trove of costume jewelry from a variety of consignors. Among the treasures are a large number of important designs by Miriam Haskell, both individual pieces and suites. In addition to the spectacular necklaces and earrings, collectors will find early examples of Haskell’s highly-prized wrap bracelets.

A rarity among the selection of Louis Vuitton trunks and cases is a travel desk from the 1930s in almost pristine condition. Measuring approximately 18 x 23 x 12, this remarkable desk features an interior fitted with an assortment of drawers and compartments (est. $3,000-5,000).

Fashion scholars will be intrigued by a collection of 27 letters written by designer Mariano Fortuny in the 1930s and 40s to a Parisian colleague. Some of the letters bear notations by Fortuny’s wife, Henriette.

The sale will offer a large array of American, European and Asian textiles, linens and lace. A feature of this section will be a group of Chinese dragon robes, and embroideries from India and Eastern Europe.
Drawing of Carrie Donovan© Al Hirschfeld
Reproduced with special arrangement with Hirschfeld’s exclusive representative, The Margo Feiden Galleries Ltd., New York.

Among the other highlights is a selection of early 1990s Versace Couture jeweled dresses and shawls. An interesting fashion rarity is a 1979 silk blouse by Contemporary artist Roy Lichtenstein silk-screened with colorful diagonal stripes and Lichtenstein’s signature dots. This limited edition blouse, numbered 83/100, was created for Artist Space in New York. Other designers of note include Norell, Courreges, Rudi Gernreich and Pierre Cardin, as well as creations from the 1980s by Thierry Mugler and Christian LaCroix.

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