How to own an iconic fashion image

Bid now – gallerist Peter Fetterman’s private collection is up for auction

Ford Model VIII, N.Y.C., 1991, by Len Prince, estimate $3,000-$5,000
Ford Model VIII, N.Y.C., 1991, by Len Prince, estimate $3,000-$5,000

Flicking through gallerist Peter Fetterman’s private collection of fashion photographs brings to mind Andy Warhol’s quote: “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people do.” Fetterman (who auctioned part of his collection at a New York sale last December) is to sell a further 64 images, around half his cache, at Phillips’ online sale Tailor-Made. Among the photographs are works by Cecil Beaton, Sheila Metzner, Gordon Parks and Horst P. Horst. 

Mrs Charles James, 716 Madison Avenue, New York, 1955, by Cecil Beaton, estimate $3,000-$5,000
Mrs Charles James, 716 Madison Avenue, New York, 1955, by Cecil Beaton, estimate $3,000-$5,000
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The pictures featured in Tailor-Made not only capture fashion moments but the mood of the times in which they were taken. A woman stands in a ballgown by the window of her Madison Avenue home: the soft drapes flowing around her cast her profile into shade. The image of Mrs Charles James in 1955 is a testament to Cecil Beaton’s fascination with fashion and high society (and it will be sold at an estimate of $3,000-$5,000 at the sale). 

Paris, 1950, by Édouard Boubat, estimate $2,500-$3,500
Paris, 1950, by Édouard Boubat, estimate $2,500-$3,500
Coco Chanel, Paris, 1937, by Horst P. Horst, estimate $4,000-$6,000
Coco Chanel, Paris, 1937, by Horst P. Horst, estimate $4,000-$6,000

As the clock goes back to 1937, Coco Chanel is seen reclining in a chair in Paris, seemingly unaware of the photographer in the room. Her portrait reveals Horst’s mastery of light and composition (estimate $4,000-$6,000). 

Untitled New York, 1956, by Gordon Parks, estimate $5,000-$7,000
Untitled New York, 1956, by Gordon Parks, estimate $5,000-$7,000
Round the Clock I, New York, 1987, by Horst P. Horst, estimate $12,000-$18,000
Round the Clock I, New York, 1987, by Horst P. Horst, estimate $12,000-$18,000

Fast-forward to 1987, where Horst’s surrealist influences and his fragmenting and eroticising of the female form converge in an iconic image – a set of legs in stockings and suspenders captured under the ruffles of a skirt (Round the Clock I, N.Y.’s estimate of $12,000-$18,000 reflects the importance of the piece). 

Campidoglio, 1986, by Sheila Metzner, estimate $12,000-$18,000
Campidoglio, 1986, by Sheila Metzner, estimate $12,000-$18,000
Stella Diving, Watermill, NY, Vogue, 1995, by Arthur Elgort, estimate $3,000-$5,000
Stella Diving, Watermill, NY, Vogue, 1995, by Arthur Elgort, estimate $3,000-$5,000

Viewed as a collection, the photographs chart the course of fashion over the last century – a glorious romp in black-and-white and colour through life, culture and art. As Warhol put it, “fashion is more art, than art is”.

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