Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives

New York–Sotheby’s will dive into the personal archives of award-winning British jewelry designer Shaun Leane, who fused fashion, art and fine jewelry, at an upcoming auction.

Earlier this year, Sotheby’s announced the launch of a Luxury & Lifestyle division, which brings the jewelry, watches, wine, cars and “experiences” categories under one umbrella.

Sotheby’s will hold its inaugural week of sales and events for this new division from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7 in New York, of which the Shaun Leane sale will be a part.

“Couture Fashion Jewellery–The Personal Archive of Shaun Leane” is slated for Dec. 4, offering works ranging from $2,000 to $400,000.

It will feature more than 45 bespoke pieces created by the designer over the course of 20-plus years for major figures of the fashion industry, like legendary houses Alexander McQueen and Givenchy and style icons Daphne Guinness, Isabella Blow, Kate Moss and Sarah Jessica Parker.

“I’m thrilled to be partnering with Sotheby’s and Kerry Taylor on this truly special sale. I believe that the collection represents a level of creative freedom that has no parallel today and a time when jewelry, performance art and fashion fused as one. It has prompted questions in my own mind as to the important role the collection still has to play in conversations surrounding the relationship between these vital creative industries,” Leane said.

“I see the auction as answering the questions these objects put forward when I began creating them: Is it art? Is it fashion? Is it jewelry? Its destiny now is to do the job it was designed to do; to inspire and provoke.”

Born and raised in London, Leane started studying jewelry when he was just 15. A year later, he started a seven-year apprenticeship in goldsmithing with English Traditional Jewellery in Hatton Garden.

After he finished the apprenticeship, Leane continued to work for the brand over the next five years to create fine jewels.

He met Lee Alexander McQueen, who was a student at Central Saint Martin’s College at the time, in 1992. When McQueen graduated the following year, he visited Leane at his workplace and took an interest in the designer’s work.

Under McQueen’s influence, Leane was exposed to a new outlook when it came to jewelry design, and started experimenting with new materials like silver, brass and aluminum.

The two collaborated on up to eight collections per year over the course 17-year partnership, which lasted until McQueen’s suicide in February 2010. To honor their friendship and business relationship, Leane gave an address at the designer’s memorial service that September.

He then went on to establish his own reputation among the fashion and jewelry industries, and founded his eponymous label, the House of Shaun Leane, in 1999.

His jewelry has since been acquired for the permanent collections of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, among others.

He most recently was awarded the 2016 UK Fine Jewellery Brand of the Year Award, the 2016/17 CoolBrands Award and the 2015 Andrea Palladio International Jewellery Award for Best International Jewellery Designer.

Here are some of his creations that will be featured in the December sale.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Left image courtesy of Sotheby’s, right image courtesy of Chris Moore)

Shaun Leane’s “Coiled Corset” is “one of the most powerful examples of the designer’s creative collaborations,” the auction house said; it was debuted in Alexander McQueen’s Autumn/Winter runway show in 1999, as pictured above right.

It is comprised of 97 aluminum coils bent to match the shape of McQueen’s fit model at the time, engraved on the rear right hip with the names “Shaune Leane” above “Alexander McQueen 99” (making it the only piece signed and dated by both), and could sell for as much as $350,000.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Left image courtesy of Sotheby’s, right image courtesy of Rex Features)
Leane’s silver “Thistle” brooch is expected to sell for between $40,000 and $60,000. The piece has spiked leaves set with pave black spinel and talon-like claws enclosing four Tahitian pearls. Sarah Jessica Parker wore it to the 2006 met Gala, pictured at right with McQueen.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Image courtesy Sotheby’s)
The “Skeleton” corset also was designed for McQueen, but this one for this Spring/Summer 1998 collection.

Expected to garner between $250,000 and $350,000, it was inspired by the idea of taking the body’s internal structure and turning it into an external adornment. Leane used wax and aluminum to sculpt the corset, using the human skeleton as his model but adding the primeval tail.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Image courtesy Sotheby’s)
Leane created a silver “Tusk” anklet in 1997 for Isabella Blow, who encouraged the designer to fuse metal working and fashion, requesting that he create a custom anklet reflecting his unmistakable aesthetic.

This piece pictured here is an identical replica of the one he made for Blow, and features an oval band with graduated tusks. It is estimated to sell for between $10,000 and $15,000.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Image courtesy Sotheby’s)
The “Crown of Thorns” headpiece appeared in Alexander McQueen’s “Dante” collection for Autumn/Winter of 1996-1997. Estimated to garner as much as $60,000, the crown is one of a number of pieces Leane created for McQueen with religious symbolism.

Sotheby’s NY Dives into Shaun Leane’s Archives (Image courtesy Sotheby’s)
From McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2001 “Voss” collection, these earrings were created from the discarded shells of Black-Lip pearl oysters and were worn by Kate Moss on the runway.

The Tahitian pearls enclosed in the oysters were used to create multiple pieces featured in the show, while polished fragments of the shells adorned garments throughout the collection.

These earrings are expected to sell for between $4,000 and $6,000.

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