Jun 18, 2009
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Kenzo collection fetches 1.9 million euros at auction

Jun 18, 2009

PARIS, June 18, 2009 (AFP) - Japanese designer Kenzo Takada waved off his personal art collection at auction for 1,9 million euros (2.6 million dollars), just over the estimated value.

Deux statuettes appartenant au couturier japonais Kenzo, le 13 juin 2009 à Drouot - Photo : AFP

The 70-year-old fashion icon known simply as "Kenzo" put 1,043 items amassed over two decades up for sale at the auction held over two days in several sessions Tuesday 16 June and Wednesday 17 June.

"The diversity", said auctioneer Claude Aguttes on Wednesday (17 June) evening, "made it difficult as a huge number of buyers were interested."

From rare Japanese lacquers to Hopi Indian dolls and Chinese statues 2,000 years old, the now retired fashion king opted to do away with the works after deciding to downsize from a spacious multi-storey Paris designer house to a flat 80 percent smaller.

The highest bids were for a Thai statue in pure gold dating from the eighth century that went for 108,500 euros (150,000 dollars), compared to an estimate of 60,000-80,000.

A Buddha from the ancient Pagan empire went for 64,000 euros (88,900 dollars), the Hopi Indian dolls were sold for around 10,000 and a kimono from Kenzo's collection fetched 19,000.

But a Han wooden horse estimated at between 80,000 and 100,000 euros failed to find a buyer along with Japanese negoro lacquer pieces from the 1500s. In all around 25 percent of the lots remained unsold.

"I am upset to part with these objects," Kenzo said prior to the sale. "But really now I have decided to turn the page and sell everything."

His timbered home, a former factory tucked away in a Paris courtyard, was redesigned as a Japanese house complete with bamboo gardens, a cascade, balconies, and an indoor pool. It measures 1,200 square metres (12,915 square feet).

Now Kenzo, who retired a decade ago after handing over his fashion empire and his first name to French luxury giant LVMH, is moving to a 200-square-metre flat in the heart of Paris with a balcony and a view.

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