Suzy Menkes: Up for Auction

A Chanel personalized ‘Suzy’ clutch (estimate £1,000-3,000)

“I have never thrown anything out of my wardrobe since 1964,” says the International New York Times’ fashion editor Suzy Menkes. On July 11, however, she will be selling select pieces in a Christie’s online-only sale. Here, Menkes explains the stories behind some of her most memorable items.


The pink Emilio Pucci dress was the first piece of “logo” fashion that I ever bought. I drove with my friend Idanna Pucci from Cambridge, where I was at the university, to Florence. I fell in love with the Pucci prints and managed to scrape enough Lire together to buy one dress. That night, Idanna took me to a party in the hills above Florence. I wore the dress and the whole evening was magical— the moonlight, the Cyprus trees, all these dolce vita people. With my small knowledge of Italian, my conversations with the glamorous young men went something like this: La luna e magica! Molto romantico! This was met with a rather dramatic response and I was soon dodging two gorgeous men at once. I was never sure whether it was because of my Italian or my dress!


The Ossie Clark dress is pure 1970’s—the moment when square-cut mini dresses morphed into languorous chiffon sweeping the ankles. I wore it on holiday in the South of France with tongue-pink, chunky soled sandals. Unfortunately, the French had never seen anything so clumpy so all eyes went to my feet instead of my dress.


I could not resist the black and white dogtooth check bag. I bought it, and then the matching jacket, at a Christian Lacroix sample sale so far outside Paris that it was the end of the metro line. Such a fun take on fashion geometry!


The Chanel Suzy bag was a joke. It was given to me by Gilles Dufour, who was then Karl Lagerfeld’s right hand, because I had written an article saying that logos— like the famous double C’s— were SO over and that your own name of the front was much more chic. I never used it, but I did have it decorating the top of the ebony chest in my Paris apartment for the longest time.


I wonder if all the people just discovering Elsa Schiaparelli now know that she was Yves Saint Laurent’s fashion heroine. He made quite a few clothes inspired by ‘Schiap’ collections and this is one of them, with the flames licking around the neck of a satin jacket. I always think that the colors look like Laduree macaroons. But the firm shouldered shape is totally YSL.