Christie’s Interiors including Flair, The Fleur Cowles Collection
Wednesday 23 November 2016 at 6.00 pm
Christie’s South Kensington, 85 Old Brompton Road, London SW7
It is totally appropriate that the section of this Interiors sale devoted to the collection of Fleur Cowles should be a special stand-alone evening sale. What a lady! Publisher, journalist, author, artist, patron and fashionista. She was a major part of society in both New York and London and included Cary Grant, the Windsors, the Reagans, Princess Grace, the Queen Mother, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Vivien Leigh among her friends. When I had the great delight of meeting her many years ago at exhibition of her work she was with the British actress Dulcie Gray.
Cowles and her fourth and last husband Thomas Montague-Meyer (they married in 1955 with Cary Grant as their best man) lived in two connecting ‘sets’ in London’s famed Albany, Piccadilly. The colourful interiors remained unchanged and so it is an exciting chance to acquire something which has real resonance and flair and reflects its owner.
Flair was the title of the short-lived but glamorous magazine that combined striking design and great editorial using cut-out covers and unfolding pages for illustrations. Although popular, it was costly to produce and so only lasted for twelve issues. But it has been a source of inspiration to editors ever since and copies are still eagerly fought for.
Lot estimates range from between £500 and £30,000 and include a Picasso drawing, artworks by René Gruau and Frederico Pallavicini who worked with her at Flair. Furniture, Dior hats, photographs and her own pictures all combine to make this sale a remarkable tribute and insight of her taste and life. I know that I count myself lucky to have actually met her!