Iconic Shaun Leane jewellery goes under the hammer…

Iconic Shaun Leane jewellery goes under the hammer…

Words Mark Hooper
Photographs Sotheby’s and Chris Moore

An auction sale of 45 bespoke designs by one of the UK’s premier fashion jewellers offers a rare opportunity to see – and even own – some of the most iconic pieces of the past 20 years…

‘Shaun Leane catches the most vicious minute of our psyche. I find the work is Thomas Hardy in romance. Organic movement with sensuous shapes that curl and twist around our feeble body. Objects for eternity.’

So said the late super-stylist Isabella Blow on the work of one of England’s finest modern jewellers – with whom she shared a longterm working relationship alongside the designer Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen. Leane describes this 20-year collaboration with McQueen as fundamental in shaping him into the craftsman and designer he is today. ‘To begin with I found that daunting,’ he says, ‘because I was a goldsmith and I was very particular about doing things the right way – the correct way. And the thing about Lee was he would really push you and challenge you to do better: not for him so much as yourself. I was pushing my skills and my techniques and my abilities, using different methods [that] I’d never worked in before.’

Now Shaun Leane’s personal archive of couture fashion jewellery is set to sold at auction in New York in December 2017 as part of Sotheby’s inaugural series A Life of Luxury. Spanning over two decades of Leane’s work, the evening event will feature over 45 of his bespoke pieces for Alexander McQueen and Givenchy, and worn by (amongst others) the Honourable Daphne Guinness, Kate Moss, Sarah Jessica Parker and of course Isabella Blow. ‘I see this auction as answering the questions these objects put forward at the very beginning,’ Leane explains. ‘Is it art? Is it fashion? Is it jewellery? The next stage will be the final chapter and answer to these questions. Their destiny now is to do the job they were designed to do; to inspire and provoke.’

 

The collection will be on public view in Sotheby’s New York galleries from 30 November 2017. Leane notes how the collection represents a time of huge creative freedom ‘when jewellery, performance art and fashion fused as one.’ The auction features more than 30 original designs from Leane’s pivotal time working for Alexander McQueen, spanning his runway collections from Autumn/Winter 1996 to Spring/Summer 2008, including the iconic Coiled Corset which, Leane says, ‘propelled me to status of fashion jeweller; taking body adornment to a different level.’

‘Provenance is key – and it is rare to be offered pieces of this significance directly from the creator,’ says auctioneer Kerry Taylor. ‘The last time many of them were worn was on the catwalk by models including Kate Moss, Erin O’Connor and Stella Tennant. Those lucky enough to acquire pieces in this auction will not only purchase a unique work of art – but a little bit of fashion history too.’

Couture Fashion Jewellery: The Personal Archive of Shaun Leane on Monday 4 December at Sotheby’s New York.

 

shaunleane.com