Lot 89 (The January Fine Art, Antiques & Jewellery Auction, 28th January 2021)

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (1936-2008), (known as Yves Saint-Laurent or YSL) an original 1950s hand-drawn theatrical costume/fashion sketch design, for the character of 'Paola' in Duel of Angels/Pour Lucrece by Jean Giraudoux. Produced whilst he was working under Christian Dior who was credited for designing the original costumes. Pastel on paper, with annotations and signed to lower right corner, 50 cm x 32 cm, framed and glazed.

(See lot essay for further information)

Provenance: From the estate of the late Patrick Wheatley, renowned theatrical and film costume designer. (See Dawsons website article and below lot essay for further details)

Lot Essay:

This costume design is most likely the original drawing by Yves Saint-Laurent (whilst working under Christian Dior) designed in the 1950s, for the production of Jean Giraudoux's 'Duel of Angels'. This drawing closely relates to [and is possibly the original design for] a finished dress now on permanent display at the Victorian and Albert Museum, London (V&A Museum No. S.1443&A to B-1984) which was recreated by the costumiers M. Berman Ltd in 1958 after Dior's death.

Although the role of Paola was played in France by Edwige Feulliere, most interestingly in Christopher Fry's English-speaking rendition (Apollo Theatre, London) Paola was played by none other than Vivien Leigh, one of the most celebrated actresses of the mid-20th century. Another silver screen starlet Lauren Bacall even noted in her autobiography that during this production Leigh gained some weight! Arguably it is Leigh's profile that resembles this drawing more than Feulliere's, and many photographs survive of Vivien Leigh wearing both the V&A dresses.

As several fashion historians have noted, the finished dress - and indeed this drawing - combine both elements of late 19th century French fashions, namely the structural tight-fitting jacket accentuating the waist but so to hallmarks of Dior's 'New Look', specifically the box pleated, oversized bell-shaped skirt. The V&A also holds in their stores a similar dress by Dior (V&A Museum No. S.84-1978) also worn by Leigh, possibly for another act in the play.

Sold for £4,800


Condition report

Paper lifting sligtly from backing, but no tears. Colours appear generally good. No obvious faults.

 

Yves Henri Donat Mathieu-Saint-Laurent (1936-2008), (known as Yves Saint-Laurent or YSL) an original 1950s hand-drawn theatrical costume/fashion sketch design, for the character of 'Paola' in Duel of Angels/Pour Lucrece by Jean Giraudoux. Produced whilst he was working under Christian Dior who was credited for designing the original costumes. Pastel on paper, with annotations and signed to lower right corner, 50 cm x 32 cm, framed and glazed.

(See lot essay for further information)

Provenance: From the estate of the late Patrick Wheatley, renowned theatrical and film costume designer. (See Dawsons website article and below lot essay for further details)

Lot Essay:

This costume design is most likely the original drawing by Yves Saint-Laurent (whilst working under Christian Dior) designed in the 1950s, for the production of Jean Giraudoux's 'Duel of Angels'. This drawing closely relates to [and is possibly the original design for] a finished dress now on permanent display at the Victorian and Albert Museum, London (V&A Museum No. S.1443&A to B-1984) which was recreated by the costumiers M. Berman Ltd in 1958 after Dior's death.

Although the role of Paola was played in France by Edwige Feulliere, most interestingly in Christopher Fry's English-speaking rendition (Apollo Theatre, London) Paola was played by none other than Vivien Leigh, one of the most celebrated actresses of the mid-20th century. Another silver screen starlet Lauren Bacall even noted in her autobiography that during this production Leigh gained some weight! Arguably it is Leigh's profile that resembles this drawing more than Feulliere's, and many photographs survive of Vivien Leigh wearing both the V&A dresses.

As several fashion historians have noted, the finished dress - and indeed this drawing - combine both elements of late 19th century French fashions, namely the structural tight-fitting jacket accentuating the waist but so to hallmarks of Dior's 'New Look', specifically the box pleated, oversized bell-shaped skirt. The V&A also holds in their stores a similar dress by Dior (V&A Museum No. S.84-1978) also worn by Leigh, possibly for another act in the play.

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