The man had a serious stutter but was saying something about selling clothes that once belonged to his friend’s famous father. Mark Haddawy, co-owner of Resurrection, didn’t ask questions and simply offered the stutterer about $4,000 for the leather getups, most of them fringed, studded and slashed in one way or another. “A few days later, a friend came by who’s really into music and looked at them and said, ‘Where did you get all of Sly Stone’s clothes?’” Haddawy says, recalling the 2001 encounter, adding that soon after, he found six silver bullets in one piece’s pocket. Turns out, another item—an embellished, bat-sleeve motorcycle jacket—had a starring role on the cover of Fresh, Sly and the Family Stone’s 1973 album, on which a toothy Stone is dressed in the number and doing a rock kick, his chest bare and his afro sky-high.
Those garments, which were custom made for Stone by an obscure Bay Area leather designer, will be up for auction October 30 at Christie’s in London along with about 250 other pieces from the private collection of Haddawy and Katy Rodriguez. They opened their first vintage boutique, Resurrection, 12 years ago in a former mortuary in New York’s East Village but quickly began amassing goods that were simply too special to sell. “I love the energy of the stuff,” says Rodriguez. “It represents youth and possibility. A lot of the designers were really at the pinnacle of their careers.”
While one could argue that, given the sluggish economy, now is not the best time to cash in at auction, the duo begs to differ. “Great material is still at a premium, and I just think there are enough people who are still willing to participate,” notes Haddawy, who indeed knows a thing or two about the gavel: In 2006 the Chicago-based Wright auction house sold off his Los Angeles home, the famed Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 21, for $3,185,600.
As for the Christie’s auction, its lots feature majors such as Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent and Norma Kamali. A 40-look preview will be held in New York from September 2 to 4. Simon Andrews, Christie’s specialist of 20th-century decorative art and design, breaks the sale into four categories: avant-garde Pop (Sixties); romanticism rebirth (early Seventies); discord and disorder of punk (mid- to late Seventies); and designer wear (Eighties and Nineties). “These are garments that represent the synthesis of fashion and design,” says Andrews, noting that the auction is Christie’s first single-owner vintage clothing sale; its total estimate is about $600,000. “It’s interesting what the clothing says about society as much as what it says about fashion.”