Starring Emma Stone’s Elie Saab Dress Last Worn on the Oscars Red Carpet, Geri Halliwell’s Showstopping Costume from Spice Girls Debut Single ‘Wannabe’ & a Bracelet Gifted by Art World’s ‘Enfant Terrible’ Damien Hirst
Open for Bidding from 7 – 15 December
“Lebanon is home to an artistic community whose contributions to the cultural landscape cannot be overstated. The explosion in the Port of Beirut this summer sent shockwaves through the city and the world, impacting every sector of society in Lebanon with countless tales of loss, damage and displacement. Sotheby’s has come together with our partners to host the auction ‘To Beirut with Love’ to provide much-needed relief and funds to aid the healing process.” Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Chairman for the Middle East
LONDON, 23 November 2020 – This December, Sotheby’s is partnering with Creatives for Lebanon and Art for Beirut – two not-for-profit organisations created by the Lebanese diaspora in the wake of the tragic blast in Beirut on 4 August – to raise funds for the people of Beirut through the medium of the arts. Comprising a handpicked selection of donations from leading contemporary artists, fashion designers and jewellery designers, ‘To Beirut with Love’ will be open for bidding from 7 – 15 December. Following the sale, in collaboration with IMPACT Lebanon and LIFE (Lebanese International Finance Executives), the proceeds will be shared amongst five charities, ensuring that the funds reach the areas that need it the most.
The charities chosen include Nusaned, Beit El Baraka and Baytna Baytak, whose focus is on shelter for displaced families and rehabilitating residential homes and local businesses, Al Fanar, a venture philanthropy organisation who provide support for social entrepreneurs and small businesses, and lastly House of Christmas, who will help preserve and protect heritage buildings.
From Giambattista Valli to Ralph & Russo, Azzedine Alaïa to Prada, the auction offers a chance to acquire archive pieces from the world’s leading fashion houses. Alongside these will be dresses donated by Middle Eastern icons, including: a silk haute couture gown designed by Egyptian actress Sherihan to wear in her ‘Thousand and One Nights’ Fawazeer show in 1987, signed by the star for the auction (est. £18,000-25,000), alongside a unique sky-blue embellished dress from the collection of beloved Lebanese singer Majida El Roumi (£8,000-10,000). To complete the perfect outfit, the auction also offers the chance to create a custom-made pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.
Leading the march is an ethereal custom long-sleeve beaded chartreuse Elie Saab gown embroidered with guipure and sequins (est. £20,000-30,000), featuring an open back and a thigh-high slit – last worn by Academy-Award winning actor Emma Stone on the Oscars red carpet in 2015. The beloved Lebanese ‘king of couture’, Saab was the first Arab designer to be admitted to the fashion industry’s governing body, Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Bringing together modern princess with Hollywood glamour, the one-of-a-kind dress was designed as part of his Beirut chasing a dream collection in Spring-Summer 2015, embodying the summer breeze, elegance and douceur de vivre of the city.
The relationship between music and fashion has resulted in some of the most dynamic and creative moments, as musicians influence fashion trends whilst an iconic outfit can put an artist on the map. Alongside Mick Jagger’s jacket from his 2017 European Tour, Lebanese designer Nicolas Jebran’s matadorinspired costume for Madonna, and a guitar signed by Pete Townshend, the auction will offer a slice of Spice Girls history. Geri Halliwell’s sequinned outfit, worn in the music video for the ultimate girl band’s emblematic debut single ‘Wannabe’, is also among the highlights (est. £4,000-6,000). Two decades on, the star posted a throwback wearing the piece on Instagram, saying “I still remember running around in my Mary Quant platforms and the sparkly leotard I bought from Notting Hill market”.
Leading the jewellery offering, is a woven yellow gold My Dior cuff (est. £30,000-50,000), designed by visionary artistic director of Dior Joaillerie, Victoire de Castellane. The eye-catching bracelet is a riot of colour adorned with diamonds and a veritable rainbow of gemstones, including sapphires, spinels, amethysts, aquamarines, tourmalines and more.
Passionate about incorporating features of Rome’s Imperial glory into its designs, Bulgari began mounting ancient coins into its jewellery as early as the 1960’s. This rose gold necklace coin necklace from this timeless collection (est. £3,000-5,000) encapsulates the allure of juxtaposing a 2,000- year-old piece within a bold, contemporary setting.
Damien Hirst’s gold Pill bracelet with diamond skull (est. £8,000-12,000), created in an edition of fifty in 2013, is a stylish piece of wearable art. The position of pharmaceuticals in today’s society remains one of the most enduring and important themes in Hirst’s work and this bracelet is inspired by the artist’s signature Medicine Cabinet series. The addition of a miniature skull serves as an homage to For the Love of God, Hirst’s sculpture consisting of an 18th-century human skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds.
In a further embodiment of fashion colliding with art, supermodel Naomi Campbell has donated one of her favourite portraits, shot by photographers Rocco Lapasta and Charles DeCaro (est. £3,000-5,000).
Other artists represented with works in the sale include filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, who for the last fifteen years have focused on the images, representations and history of their home country, Lebanon. Wonder Beirut ranks among the pair’s most important photographic projects, inspired by the tourist postcards of attractions in pre-civil war Beirut, and explores the blurred line between facts and fiction (est. £4,000-6,000).
Also hailing from Lebanon are works by leading photographer Fouad Elkoury – with a photograph from his nostalgic Suite Egyptienne series (est. £9,000-11,000) as he travelled down the Nile – and ground-breaking painter Huguette Caland – with an alluring work from her Bribes de Corps series (est. £10,000-15,000).
The auction also offers a piece by French designer Hervé Van der Straeten, whose dynamic furniture and lighting designs are instantly recognisable for their contrasting materials and bold variations of form brought together with superlative craftsmanship. Console Twist from 2015 (est. £12,000-18,000) is a statement piece that perfectly exemplifies this aesthetic.
About Creatives for Lebanon
Creatives for Lebanon is a newly established non-profit organization that bringing the Lebanese diaspora together, in pursuit of initiatives that deliver long term impact for the creative sector of Lebanon. Our process is to encourage conversation and the sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise within the diaspora – turning concepts into successful initiatives. Founded in 2020 by key industry figures: Caroline Issa, Chief Executive and Fashion Director of Tank Magazine; Sabine Getty, Editor-at-Large Tatler; Eli Rezkallah, founder of Plastik; Ahmad Swaid, Head of Content at Dazed Media; stylist and consultant Emilie Kareh; PR consultant Alissa Kobeissi; jewellery designer Noor Fares; fashion designers Racil Chalhoub and Sarah Baadarani as an immediate response to the Beirut August 4th explosion.
About Art for Beirut
“Art for Beirut” is an initiative founded in August 2020 and run by a group of Lebanese citizens residing between Paris, London, Montreal and New York City. Our ambition is to bring together the Art community and those passionate about the arts to collaborate on initiatives that will help restore Beirut, preserve its cultural heritage and support its people. We believe that the Arts are essential to bring together polarized communities as it nurtures a sense of identity and belonging. We wish to promote artistic expression and initiatives to nourish the future of our devastated country and give a suffering population the chance to regain hope and preserve its dignity.
Lebanon Impact Lebanon is a non-profit organisation incorporated in the UK in December 2019. Run by volunteers of the Lebanese diaspora across the world, Impact Lebanon serves as a social incubator, pursuing initiatives that deliver positive impact for Lebanon. The ambition is to turn ideas into successful initiatives, through the sharing of knowledge, resources and expertise across members. Impact’s current initiatives include Dikkeni, an online concept store supporting Lebanese artists and designers, the Environment Academy, a collaboration between diaspora experts and local communities aiming to solve environment issues in Lebanon, a mentorship program to connect Lebanese students in Lebanon to Lebanese professionals in the diaspora, and Sawti, an online platform promoting civic education, amongst other projects.
LIFE (Lebanese International Finance Executives) is a worldwide membership organisation, non-political and nonreligious, of Lebanese professionals based in the diaspora working together towards a brighter future. Its charity arm, LIFE Generation, supports Education through a scholarship programme dedicated to outstanding Lebanese students in financial need, job creation through a support programme for carefully selected social enterprises to create job opportunities in Lebanon, and humanitarian efforts in Lebanon.
Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as Advisory services for collectors, museums, corporations, artists, estates and foundations. Sotheby’s presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.
* Estimates do not include buyer’s premium or overhead premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium and overhead premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.