Sotheby's and CFDA's Thom Browne toast new auction and exhibit(2024)






























bonyadi magazine 





While fashion folks revel in collecting clothing, Thom Browne demonstrates his accruals extend beyond garments at a new auction at Sotheby's






'Visions of America'—curated by the designer much like a museum exhibition—highlights aspects of American craftsmanship that range from fine art, furniture, decorative arts, ceramics, books, and manuscripts, and, of course, fashio






This latter category was highlighted with a special exhibit, 'CFDA: Defining American Style', featuring over 37 American fashion designers and brands. Profits from fashion sales will go to the CFDA Foundation, which benefits its scholarships and business mentoring programs. The auction was marked by a cocktail party on Thursday attended by popular industry figures such as Anna Wintour, Julia Fox, Evan Mock, AnnaSophia Robb, Richie Shazam, Cory Michael Smith, Jason Wu, Stacey Bendet, Christian Siriano, and Mary McFadden, who made a rare appearance, kicked off 2024 New York fashion events while the January reset was still in effect







In a gallery on the auction house's main floor on display were the looks from American designers, both currently working, retired, and deceased





"It was important that the CFDA celebrated the truly individual American designers that make up the organization. There is so much diversity and creativity in America, and that's what you see in the exhibit," he told post-event via email






"The only criteria was that everyone submit something meaningful to them, something they deemed worthy of being in one of the best galleries in the world," he added










The scene-stealing centerpiece was a red jersey Norma Kamali gown with a massive hemline and train splayed across a round platform, which was made for the Statue of Liberty's 1986 Centennial. Though the white bridal look, which lacked a front panel, leaving the midsection and crotch area bare worn by Julia Fox and the floral hoop skirt number worn by Richie Shazam—overly enthusiastic for a Thursday night suction house cocktail—threatened to overshadow the looks on display






Among those were a Halston everyday utility look, a Tom Ford sequin gown, a Diane von Furstenberg gold wrap gown, an Isaac Mizrahi bow dress, and Mary McFadden gown. Contemporary designs such as a Khaite white sequin gown, a Rick Owens denim tech sheath, and a Proenza Schouler eyelet dress were also displayed






Kim Kardashian, Margot Robbie, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Anna Wintour, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Paris Hilton, Kendall Jenner, Kate Moss, Erykah Badu, Winnie Harlow, and Jessica Chastain were among the boldface names who had worn the styles on offer






Browne appeared as a proud parent among the designs on display, saying in a release


"I am so proud to be a distinctly American designer. I appreciate American art for its simplicity and representation of craft at the highest level. American art comes in many different forms and tells many different stories, allowing me to see my own stories in new ways – to elevate them and challenge how I think about the world





Steven Kolb, CEO, Council of Fashion Designers of America, was equally enthused, saying in a release, "The collaboration of CFDA with Sotheby's for this unprecedented auction of major American fashion pieces was a natural synergy. The auction items are significant pieces of American fashion history in their range, craftsmanship, and unique stories they tell






Designer Jason Wu explained, along with supporting the initiatives of the CFDA and its community, it was a chance to highlight US fashion prowess

"Being able to exhibit the importance of American fashion that can be lost with the big conglomerates around the world is good for the community," he told, noting his dress on display that actress Liu Wen wore in an early issue of Vogue China circa 2013






"I was just in China last November; seeing how important China's role in American fashion is and a chance to embrace my Chinese roots is interesting. It's also red for Chinese New Year," he said, adding, "It was great to be given the freedom to choose what look was essential to us. Growing up in Asia, fashion wasn't a well-regarded career, so we have come a long way for me to have my brand and still be here ten years later






As guests went upstairs, they discovered a gallery transformed into a fabulous New York-style pied-a-terre designed by Corey Damen Jenkins. On this level and the third level, exhibits focused on the other aforementioned categories and more (there was even a bourbon and rye-themed auction)











Notably uniquely American were the Western Art & Design from the Bar Cross Ranch, Wyoming, the Hudson River School in Focus, and Native American Art, with nine sales in total to make up the sales, which run throughout various times in January. As the curatorial director, Browne selected items from each category, displayed as Thom Browne's Edit. According to the CFDA chairman, who is an avid collector with his partner Andrew Bolton, the head curator at The Met's Anna Wintour Costume Center, he and Bolton like things that feel "distinctly American." The designer added that collecting allows him to tell different stories through different mediums





He told it was also a natural, intuitive process. "It was all instinctual. I simply picked pieces that liked and could see myself living with. I wanted to show that collecting should and can be personal," he said





Browne also hinted we might see more of his curation in the future. "Of course, I would always look forward to collaborating again because Sotheby's are the best at what they do," he added.

Currently, the CFDA fashion sale, which began on January 9 and concludes on January 23, has some clear favorites for top sellers: Alice & Olivia's shocking pink dress is at $3,500 with 13 bids; a 1982 Bob Mackie gown is at $2,200 with 15 bids; and Michael Kors is at $1,300 with 15 bids









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