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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Have you ever bought at a Vintage Couture Auction?

Few investments combine art, beauty and history as well as fashion. As a lover of vintage clothing, I'm delighted to welcome Caroline Pearce from auction house Busby Bridport Saleroom, who has kindly written a guest post highlighting some of the treasures from this week's auction. I will be heading down there on Thursday and will report back with any unique fashion finds - over to Caroline:

On Thursday 19th June Busby Bridport Saleroom will be having its third auction of vintage couture. There is an eclectic mix of funky and fun dresses including a collection of clothing with well known couture names such as Ossie Clark, Biba, Jean Patou, Lanvin and Christian Dior. In addition to dresses, skirts, jackets and coats there are hats, shoes, gloves, fabric pieces, lingerie and many more exciting treasures including a 1920s Irish Aristocrat's dressing up box.

Many of the clothes have been hidden away by elegant ladies who haven't worn them since the 50's, 60's or 70's but have stored them beautifully to maintain their superb condition. When the clothes come into Busby Saleroom, Harriet Cunningham, who curates the sale, spends hours measuring and cataloguing each outfit so distant buyers or internet bidders who are unable to attend the sale have a good idea of what they are bidding on. Harriet really knows her stuff, having run the vintage clothes shop Sublyme in Lyme Regis. As it is festival season we picked out a few dresses to show the blog readers which would be perfect for swirling and dancing in! Lot 324 is a gorgeous original 1950's red rose dress with a side zip that comes with two other dresses.

Or how about floating around Bestival in Lot 284 which is the debutante's collection of Troubadour couture cotton maxi dresses?

If you are looking for the show stopping ball gown, there are many beautiful pieces from the 30’s up to the 50’s.  Lot 347 is a stunning 1940's tulle and sequinned ball gown covered in sapphire and dark blue sequins.

I popped in today and found my favourite piece amongst them, lot number 304; although at a size 10/12 it is a little small for me so sadly I won't be bidding on it. It is a beautiful silver lace and beaded cocktail dress which was given by Lady Waley-Cohen to her grandson's nanny in gratitude for her work. As Lady Mayoress she liked to "indulge in some romantic evening dresses". Just after this picture was taken several women who had come in to view the pieces gathered round to admire it - but this unique dress could be yours for around £50!

I also loved Lot 343, the lime green floor length Givency coat - it is gorgeous and anyone tall and size 10 should seriously look at that. We expect one or two of the dresses and antique lace to fetch amazing prices, particularly if there are telephone bidders or internet bidders on them. At the last sale the tension and excitement rose in the auction room as a Charles Worth dress crept up and up in price fetching nearly £2,000!

If you live near enough to Bridport I would urge you to come and see the clothes for yourself. Viewing is tomorrow, Wednesday 18th June 9am - 7pm and also on the day of sale from 9am onwards. Many of the dresses you can try on. All of the clothes can been seen on the online catalogue at which also has details of where to find us in North Mills Trading Estate, Bridport. Many people are intimidated about buying clothes at auction but it's an easy process, just a case of registering your name and address and then either coming along or leaving a bid with us. You can even bid live online where you can see and hear the auctioneer live on your computer screen via . If you want to make sure your bid has been received then feel free to copy me in at I am there on auction days so say hello if you can make it. If you do leave a bid or bid online there is a postal service if you are happy to wait a couple of weeks - or some people send a courier to collect their goods.

Have you ever found a couture bargain at auction or see something go for an astounding price at auction?


  1. I would love to see the collection. How utterly fabulous. x

    1. I know! I'm actually really excited to see if I can find something and bid for it as I haven't been to one before. The ball gown looks exquisite.
      A x

  2. I never got onto the subject of kimonos, which are trending everywhere (well, in Bath this weekend they were!) and in the sale are several of the real deal, some with the 'forbidden stitch' (supposedly banned in China to save the eye sight of the girls stitching it). You can float around the house in floor length ones. Caroline x

  3. Beautiful Silver Beaded cocktail dress, will go and have a look at it! Great blog.Xx

    1. Harriet has got in tons of great stuff Mel - she must have brilliant contacts. I'm expecting hot bidding on lot 307 - a Lanvin blue lace day dress. So many lush dresses that I couldn't feature without boring everyone! I did have a good swoosh around the salesroom in a couple of kimonos….

  4. I love a bit of vintage, I have a fair few dresses! This looks like a fab event for picking up some really different xx

  5. This would be HEAVEN for me and hell for my bank balance!! I've never been to one of these auctions, I'm scared I would get carried away?! Will definitely put this on my list of 'one day' things though! p x