The spectacular collection of Helen Rochas, the widow of couturier Marcel Rochas, has just been auctioned through Christie’s. The celebrated Parisian beauty and jet-set fixture who helped turn the house of Rochas into a perfume powerhouse, who died last year, left behind a vast collection of art and antiques.
Highlights included a painting by Balthus, four portraits of Hélène Rochas by Andy Warhol; paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Edouard Vuillard and Ben Nicholson, and a plethora of 18th- and 19th-century furniture and objects.
Also for sale was her 4,300-square-foot apartment, with a private garden filled with white flowers, on Rue Barbet-de-Jouy in the French capital’s 7th arrondissement — a stone’s throw from the residence formerly shared by Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé.
Rochas learned to be authoritative early in life. She was just 18 when she married couturier Marcel Rochas and became the face of his fashion house, and not quite 30 when he died and she took over the label, using it to launch a hugely successful perfume business.
“Women,” W quoted her as saying in 1984, “should have a fragile air, even if they are not.”