Doyle to Auction the Estate of Oleg Cassini on June 27
- NEW YORK, New York
- June 17, 2019
Doyle Auctioneers & Appraisers has announced the auction of the Estate of Oleg Cassini, the legendary fashion designer best known for creating Jacqueline Kennedy’s signature style as First Lady. This landmark auction offers fashion memorabilia, clothing and accessories, autograph letters, luxury automobiles, arms and armor, artwork, Continental and English furniture, decorations, silver and more from the elegant Manhattan townhouse on 19th Street and from Moorelands, the lavish residence in Oyster Bay Cove on Long Island’s North Shore.
The auction will take place on Thursday, June 27 at 10am at Doyle located at 175 East 87th Street in New York. The sale will be preceded by a three-day public exhibition on June 22 through 24 at Moorelands located at 47 Sandy Hill Road in Oyster Bay Cove, where all of the property to be auctioned will be on view.
The son of Russian aristocrats, Oleg Cassini was raised in Italy before immigrating in the 1930s to the United States, initially settling in New York. Following his service in the U.S. Cavalry during World War II, he worked as a costume designer in Hollywood before returning to New York and establishing his eponymous label. Mr. Cassini’s career-defining opportunity came in December 1960 when he was chosen by Jacqueline Kennedy to design her fashions for the White House.
Fashion memorabilia in the auction features several lots of original Kennedy-era design sketches by Mr. Cassini, as well as a detailed Cassini ledger with fabric samples dating from 1960-64 chronicling orders during the Kennedy White House years, estimated at $500-800. Also offered are numerous lots of suits, coats, shoes, boots and accessories from Mr. Cassini’s personal wardrobe.
An important signed letter from Jacqueline Kennedy dated December 13, 1960 is estimated at $10,000-15,000. Penned about one month following her husband’s election as President, the detailed letter is entirely about fashion and aspects of the highly intimate and influential journey on which the two – Cassini and First Lady – are about to embark.
Certain to attract attention is a group of four signed letters from Grace Kelly, with whom Mr. Cassini was briefly engaged prior to her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco. The letters were written circa 1954-55, around the time of their engagement, and are estimated at $5,000-8,000. One letter closes with the statement, “I think I’d rather have a ring instead of an automobile. I love you.”
With a sophisticated designer’s eye, Mr. Cassini furnished his Manhattan townhouse and Oyster Bay Cove residence with English and Continental furniture, decorations and artwork. Highlights include a graceful circa 1720 George I giltwood and gilt-gesso pier table attributed to the Royal Cabinet Maker James Moore estimated at $30,000-50,000. A late 18th century Louis XVI ormolu-mounted burr olive and mahogany bureau à cylindre (cylinder desk) is attributed to Christophe-André Hache, a member of a renowned family of French cabinetmakers, estimate $12,000-18,000. Adding color and whimsy is an extensive green-glazed ceramic cabbage-form service by Dodie Thayer estimated at $3,000-5,000.
Featured in Mr. Cassini’s extensive collection of paintings is a lovely portrait of his mother, Countess Marguerite Cassini, by Russian artist Constantin Makovsky (1839-1915) estimated at $1,000-3,000.
A discerning connoisseur of antique arms and armor, Mr. Cassini assembled an impressive collection of six suits of armor highlighted by a rare Milanese 16th century example estimated at $30,000-40,000. This suit of armor and a second 16th century example in the Maximilian style estimated at $20,000-30,000 were both in the collection of Lord Astor in England’s Hever Castle.
The auction offers four luxury automobiles featuring an elegant ivory 1987 Rolls Royce Silver Spur estimated at $8,000-12,000 and a sporty red 2004 Mercedes SL500 convertible with the Cassini crest estimated at $10,000-15,000.
The fully-illustrated auction catalogue may be viewed online at Doyle.com.