With his neat silhouette, elegant jackets and shock of dark hair, Vincent Darré has always looked like one of his own drawings.
I first met Vincent when he worked with Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi, and I followed his fashion life from Moschino – a smart spot for a designer with a sophisticated sense of humour – to Ungaro. I also admire his work with the artist Pierre Le-Tan and fabric master Pierre Frey. But it was in his tiny Paris store dedicated to interiors that I understood his anarchy of taste, his adoration of the surreal, and the exquisite craftsmanship that brings his creative work together.
How Vincent laughed as I sank on to a small velvet sofa – without realising that its back was shaped like two lovers in sensual conversation. I could have spent hours in that tiny Maison Darré boutique on the rue du Mont Thabor, letting my eyes search the wallpaper for infinite details made with a minute pen nib.
“My apartment was the laboratory of my dreams. I projected on the walls all the images from my past - a great drawer of memories. It was the theatre of my life.”
How can this collector with such exceptional and exquisite taste find the courage to auction at Piasa in Paris on Wednesday the contents of his apartment of dreams – with its soft, decorative 18th-century sofas, spiky brass grasshopper figurines, Space Age chandeliers, porcelain sea creatures, and Dali’s disembodied Mae West Lips sofa. As he explains, “My apartment was the laboratory of my dreams. I projected on the walls all the images from my past - a great drawer of memories. It was the theatre of my life.”
Reflecting different epochs, “changing its skin according to my mood”, his apartment resembled “a decadent abandoned palace” in some rooms and “a cabinet of curiosities, covered in primary colours to end like a musical comedy” in others. “My friends filled the space – dining, dancing, improvising their performances. This sale is for me, a reflection of necessity: the desire to re-invent myself.”