Fashion’s “most photographed woman,” editor Anna Dello Russo, who has not-so-secretly amassed an extensive archive of garments and accessories (so much so that she had to buy the apartment next to hers to store it), has announced that she will auction it off. The fashion industry veteran, who currently holds the titles of Editor-At-Large and creative consultant for Vogue Japan, told Italian publication Corriere that the high fashion sale is “a non-profit project, the proceeds will go to a charity [to create] scholarships for fashion students from all over the world at Central St Martins in London.”
While select pieces will not be sold and instead, are slated to head to the Louvre museum in Paris, the lot that will be put up for auction consists of thousands of rare couture gowns and ready-to-wear garments, a seemingly endless amount of shoes and bags, and many unique samples that, as Corriere notes, “even fashion houses do not have in the archives.” Net-a-Porter’s website will simultaneously play host to a sale of 100+ garments of Dello Russo’s. (You can find them here).
Speaking of the impending auction, which is slated to take place at the Milanese outpost of famed auction house Christie’s in late February, at the same time as the Fall/Winter 2018 womenswear shows, Dello Russo says, “It’s my way of celebrating Milan, my city, the city that allowed me everything I’ve done in my life. It is my way of returning my fortune, the fortune I had and Milan must receive this special evening. And the new generation, girls and boys who love fashion, must receive something from my archive.”
Dello Russo – who is opting to part ways with her fashion gems because “such a big treasure has become a burden” – has insisted that at least some of the items be offered at democratic prices in order to enable a wider range of buyers. “The clothes in my archive I want to see them alive,” Dello Russo says, “on a girl of fourteen maybe, not closed somewhere, in some fashionista tomb. My archive could not and should not be left there without end, at a controlled temperature and humidity.”
For those that cannot get their hands on one of Dello Russo’s prized garments or accessories, you are not out of luck entirely. In connection with the auction, she is releasing a book with Phaeton Publishing that will highlight her life in fashion. According to Dello Russo, the books contents including “memories of the important people I met, like Helmut Newton for example. Many handwritten texts from my diary. And then there are the campaigns that I created,” which took months to secure proper releases in order to include in the book.
One particularly striking excerpt: “Fashion is always uncomfortable! Sometimes I feel like a Pagliaccio [an Italian clown], sometimes I look like a Christmas tree. Three dresses a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon one in the evening … Why? Because I like it, because nothing succeeds like excess.”
And that seems to perfectly sum up the essence that is Dello Russo and the archive set to hit the auction block next month.