Live Like Karl

Karl Lagerfeld was a mega-collector. Of high-collared white shirts (1,000). Of books (300,000). Of period décor (Art Deco, Memphis Group, 18th-century European). And of homes — at least 20, in Europe and in New York.

“He loved buying, redesigning and decorating houses,” said Sébastien Jondeau, the longtime assistant and bodyguard of the fashion designer, who died in 2019 at the age of 85. “It was a true passion.”

One of those homes, the Bond-villain-like lair on the Quai Voltaire in Paris that was Mr. Lagerfeld’s last residence — sold at auction at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris on Tuesday for 10 million euros ($10.8 million). More than 50 attendees gathered for the sale of the 2,800-square-foot apartment, which Mr. Lagerfeld shared with Choupette, his beloved blue-eyed Birman cat. Bidding began shortly after 10 a.m. at 5.3 million euros, and quickly turned into a standoff between two parties: one who was off-site and communicating through an auction official in the room via a landline telephone, the other who was represented by a French lawyer seated in the second row and taking instruction on his cellphone.

The sale of Mr. Lagerfeld’s apartment comes at a time of renewed interest in the designer.Credit…Christophe Ena/Associated Press

The lawyer, who would not give his name for reasons of confidentiality, appeared to be taking direction in English from his client via a telephone earpiece. Offers bounced between the two bidders by increments of 50,000 to 150,000 euros for nearly 20 minutes, until the lawyer’s bid jumped from 9.3 million euros to 10 million euros. The auction official on the landline with the telephone bidder made a hand motion that her bidder stood down. When the auctioneer, Bertrand Savouré, announced that the apartment had been sold, attendees erupted in applause. Mr. Savouré would not reveal the buyer’s name or nationality.

Proceeds of the sale go to Mr. Lagerfeld’s estate, which will be distributed to Mr. Lagerfeld’s seven heirs: the former model Baptiste Giabiconi, who will receive 30 percent; Mr. Jondeau and the former model Brad Kroenig (the father of Mr. Lagerfeld’s godson, Hudson) will each receive 20 percent; and the Chanel artistic director Virginie Viard, Mr. Lagerfeld’s creative muse Amanda Harlech and the Karl Lagerfeld brand executives Caroline Lebar and Sophie de Langlade, who will split the remaining 30 percent, according to the French weekly magazine Le Point.

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