The auction, a first for South Africa, was a resounding success, which attracted the attention of artist and curator Mark Coetzee. Coetzee, who purchased pieces at the auction, has generously donated 8 garments to the Iziko Social History Collections Department. The garments will form part of the museum’s haute couture collection, which is currently far from complete. Levin’s work, exhibiting a high level of workmanship, form an integral part of any South African fashion collection and it is exciting that these pieces will now be available to the public.
Due to limited funding, Iziko would never have been able to purchase these garments themselves, and are grateful for the support of philanthropists such as Mark Coetzee. Ms Rooksana Omar, Iziko’s CEO, commented, “Iziko Museums of South Africa is delighted that Mark Coetzee, our generous benefactor, has identified us as recipient of selected, stunning designs by Chris Levin. It is this type of generosity that makes Iziko Museums such a magical and interesting place to visit and engage with our exhibitions. We look forward to showcasing the Levin fashions in the not too distant future at one of our museums. The acquisition of these stylish gowns and dresses will complement the recent gift of everyday isishweshwe garments designed and worn mainly by black rural and working class women in South Africa, though also taken up more recently on the international catwalk, and recently displayed in the Slave Lodge costume gallery”.
Following his purchase, Mark Coetzee released the following statement:
“The opportunity to purchase eight wonderful pieces by designer Chris Levin, through Strauss and Co, and donate them to the costume collection of Iziko Museums is a small gesture on my part to thank the Iziko Slave Lodge (formerly the Cultural History Museum) for the great contribution they have made to Cape Town, our country and my personal learning. Since a young age our museums have been a place of great excitement and joy for me. I truly believe that all great cultures are based on the collective achievements of its citizens and the legacy we create through libraries, parks, museums, educational institutions etc. I am so honoured to be able to contribute to our National Museums and join the amazing individuals who have done the same in the past allowing us now to enjoy museums that enrich us, inspire us and teach us about human understanding. I do hope others of my time will do the same.”
For more information on the Chris Levin auction visit our other articles here and here.
Classicfeel acknowledges Strauss & Co. for the information and quotes used in this article.