The Pedestal: You grew up surrounded by antiques from the family business, how did this inform and develop your interest in fine objects?
Charlotte: I was introduced to high end luxury goods at a young age and I was always fascinated with the origin and provenance of specialty pieces. This exposure to antiques gave me an appreciation of craftsmanship and bespoke items.
You studied at The London College of Fashion which must have been fascinating, did you ever think you might pursue a career in couture or clothing design?
My degree was in PR and although I have always been interested in fashion design and particularly accessory design it was always the promotion and business side of high end fashion that attracted me.
What drew you to become a specialist in luxury accessories and handbags?
I have always been interested in what constitutes a luxury brand. I am attracted to the high level of craftsmanship and being a lover of both fashion and fine antiques I found an irresistible crossover in luxury accessories.
What was it that attracted you to working at The Pedestal?
The Pedestal is taking the traditional auction and turning it into a modern brand. With a strong focus on location, photography and promotion there is a fashion-based approach to a well known and loved format which greatly appeals to me.
Do you think it is important to be offering handbags at this level in London?
As one of the fashion capitals of the world London must offer handbags at this level!
Re-sale in Italy, for example, has been a huge phenomenon for many years and with the buzz around the modern high level internet re-sale sites London must keep up with this trend.
Which fashion brands are of particular interest to you, and why?
Chanel, Hermès, Goyard, Louis Vuitton.
These brands have an attention to detail that’s unrivalled in the industry. They create internationally renowned works of art and maintain standards in manufacture that other brands can’t touch.
You have your own vintage Chanel and Hermès collections, how long have you been collecting and tell us about a few of your favourite pieces?
I have been collecting for around 10 years and my favourites include:
The Black Ardennes Birkin from the 1990s – the holy grail of handbags!
Various 1980s Chanel flap bags & shoulder bags – the quality of workmanship is incredible, and they look even better with age. Utterly timeless and never out of style.
1990s Louis Vuitton luggage and holdalls – the monogram canvas is extremely hard wearing and they can be used on all of my long work trips. Perfect for the ‘plane and sturdy enough for work.
Are your clients collectors or private individuals just looking for one investment piece – or a combination of both?
I have a wide range! Some don’t know that they want a specific piece until they see it and others have highly specific wish lists.
What should buyers look out for when making a vintage handbag purchase? How important is condition?
Condition is everything. After authentication which must be carried out by an expert anyone looking to make an investment must look for the absolute best condition they can obtain.
From an investment angle, I consistently recommend buyers to look out for limited editions, interesting and bright colours and, of course, perfect condition.
How important is it to get the right kind of advice in the market?
The fakers are everywhere, it’s so important to talk to experts in the field and not to buy anything unless you are 100% certain that it’s an authentic piece.
In your view, is this a rising market?
Without a doubt, the past 5 years has seen a shift into luxury re-sale in the UK. It is certainly going from strength to strength. The UK market continues to grow, following a trend that has seen some handbags from the top brands outperform hedge funds in previous years.
We are very excited to see your first auction at The Pedestal, do you have any highlights you can share with us?
I am so excited about my first auction at The Pedestal!
I am hoping to offer our clients a range of the very best from all the classic and favourite brands, including possibly a very rare ‘Royal’ treat from Louis Vuitton and some Chanel show stoppers. The sale will also focus on condition, quality and collectability.
I am looking forward to curating a great selection.