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The average hammer price at this year's annual outing on September 29 fell just short of £400 per lot.

But 'vintage' is a hot word in the fashion industry and the vintage fashion market is mushrooming, as discussed in this sale's preview reported in ATG 1706, September 17. These sales are soon to become biannual but routinely they attract a broad spectrum of buyers including designers looking for inspirational pieces and twenty- and thirty-something fashion devotees.

This year's 340-lot outing timed to follow on from London Fashion Week, saw an 80 per cent take-up by volume and posted a £134,849 total, getting on for double last year's tally, an outcome that CSK specialist Patricia Frost attributed to a more discerning selection of consignments.

The fashion devotees focused on the comparatively affordable boho-chic creations of designers such as Ossie Clark.

Just under three-quarters of the 20 Ossie Clark dresses, jackets and blouses on offer got away with a red and blue floral print mini dress and a Celia Birtwell print red, black and pink dress highlights at £380 and £700 respectively.

"This year everybody wanted Ossie Clark clothes but last year it was Biba," said Pat Frost.

Just under half of the sale comprised two complementary core collections that appealed to distinct groups of international buyers.

Around 90 per cent of a 64-lot holding consigned by the former Swedish supermodel Ulla Carenby sold to a mixture of British, European and American collectors and institutions.
Carenby worked extensively with Yves Saint Laurent in the 1960s and 1970s and his dresses, jackets and accessories from this period dominated the consignment.

Smoking suits were the designer's signature pieces and key works from Carenby's collection included some of the earliest smoking suits he produced.

Within this group was a black serge Little Lord Fauntleroy suit dating to c.1968 complete with Roger Vivier transparent pumps for which one European buyer paid a premium at £3000, while a black velvet smoking suit with a velvet wide brimmed hat and Roger Vivier court shoes from Yves Saint Laurent's winter 1968 collection, fetched £2200 against hopes of £400-800.

For anyone looking to buy-to-wear, the collection's supermodel sizes were prohibitive to all but the tallest and most slender followers of fashion.

Size notwithstanding, two private buyers contested a catwalk model haute couture nautical style ribbed blue blazer, pictured above, to an unexpected £5500 against expectations of £150-300. It was the sale's top lot.

If the value of the Carenby collection lay largely in its academic appeal, the more accessible sizes and excellent condition of the Chanel outfits that comprised Madame Mouna Ayoub's 79-lot couture collection proved popular with private buyers.

Two Chanel multi-coloured lace summer dresses with matching chiffon hats and a black wool and Lurex mixture evening coat, were amongst the highlights fetching £700 and £380 respectively.

A third much smaller collection was the 14-lots of Christian Dior couture from the wardrobe of Jane, Lady Abdy. Unlike the pristine condition of the clothes from Madame Ayoub's wardrobe that had been cared for by two full-time employees, condition was more worn and interest, therefore, patchier.

To the aspiring fashionista, a black Hermes Kelly bag is a holy grail of the hand-held accessory. With these distinctive carriers rumoured to retail around £9000 and a waiting list allegedly pushing five years, it was perhaps no surprise that such a handbag should be one of the most hotly contested entries at CSK. A UK private buyer emerged triumphant with a £4800 winning bid for the example in this sale pictured bottom right.

Elsewhere, an electric blue crocodile Hermes handbag, that usually retails for around £4000 was still a must-have for one European private buyer at £3900.