Haute couture from Karl Lagerfeld’s golden years at Chanel
Would you like to own a piece of fashion history? Mouna Ayoub has built one of the largest haute couture collections in the world. Now she’s auctioning off 252 of the most beautiful pieces from Lagerfeld’s time at Chanel. She never used most of them, but Claudia Schiffer did.
MYou forget it so quickly, with all the celebrities, flashing lights, spectacular fashion shows and gorgeous dresses. But without customers who are willing to spend tens or even hundreds of thousands of euros on a look, haute couture would not exist. And how far a woman’s passion for this exquisite fashion craft can go is demonstrated by the story of a private collection of Chanel Haute Couture dresses that will be auctioned on November 20th.
The collection, which exclusively includes designs from Karl Lagerfeld’s creative period, is owned by Mouna Ayoub, whose story is as dazzling as the embroidery on a floor-length gold Chanel dress from the 1996 summer collection. in Paris in the 1970s The Lebanese-born woman caught the eye of a Saudi Arabian billionaire and adviser to King Fahd, who was so fascinated to see her that he soon proposed and took her to Saudi Arabia as his wife .
The relationship made Ayoub a wealthy but lonely woman, who ended up investing her time and resources into purchasing haute couture dresses. He became a regular customer, mainly at Chanel, from 1990 onwards. 252 pieces from his wardrobe, created between 1990 and 2014 and which reflect the golden years of the Lagerfeld era, are now being auctioned in Paris, as part of a partnership between the auction house Maurice Auction and the British haute couture auction institution Kerry Taylor.
Among the most impressive designs is the “Coromandel” evening coat from the winter 1996/1997 collection, fully embellished with Lesage embroidery and inspired by the Coromandel screens with Chinese lacquer paintings that adorned Coco Chanel’s apartment on Rue Cambon. A red tweed ensemble was worn on the catwalk by Claudia Schiffer in 1993, and a black silk crepe dress with chain jewelry was worn by Christy Turlington in 1992. Bags, belts, shoes and jewelry are also among the objects.
Ayoub preferred to buy the most important and eye-catching looks from each collection and is a demanding customer: she demands at least four to six fittings from the houses. “Each piece has to fit perfectly, otherwise I’ll send it back,” she says. Especially at the beginning of her passion for collecting, she had no intention of wearing those clothes. Short hemlines or plunging necklines, in particular, did not fit in with everyday life in Saudi Arabia, which was characterized by strict dress codes for women. Ayoub bought it anyway, motivated by her admiration for the craftsmanship and the joy she felt when visiting the ateliers and interacting with the seamstresses.
And so, almost all of the pieces that are for sale have only been used once or have never been used before. Instead, they were carefully stored for years in museum-worthy conditions in a warehouse on the outskirts of Paris. Ayoub justifies that the time has now come to get rid of some models due to the fact that many pieces no longer fit. On the other hand, after the death of Karl Lagerfeld, the time has come for a new generation to be able to enjoy his designs and fill them with life.
Either way, Ayoub will have no shortage of valuable pieces of clothing even after the auction. Her collection totals around 2,700 models and to this day she continues to buy designs from houses like Chanel, Dior, Schiaparelli and Armani every season. She divorced her husband in 1997 and is now active in real estate and lives in Monaco. She will donate part of the proceeds from the auction to the French humanitarian organization “Fondation des Femmes”, which campaigns for women’s rights around the world.
The auction “The Golden Years of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel from the Mouna Ayoub Haute Couture Collection” will take place on November 20th, at 6:30 pm, at the Pavillon Gabriel, in Paris. You can bid live through Maurice Auction.