Fashion figure Andre Leon Talley collections up for auction at Christie's in New York City

PARIS, Jan 24 (Reuters) - Silk caftans, exotic leather coats and monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage sets are among items from the late American fashion journalist Andre Leon Talley set to go under the hammer this week at Christie's in New York.

"He was a larger-than-life tour de force," said Elizabeth Seigel, head of private and iconic collections at Christie's New York, speaking at an exhibit in Paris, where some of the items are displayed.

"His work could really make or break any designers," added Seigel.

Close to 400 lots will go on sale from Friday to Feb. 16, illustrating Talley's eccentric, personal style and love of fashion, with drawings, photographs and clothing linked to his friendships with other towering industry figures, like designers Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Furstenberg and longtime Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

The auction house estimates the lots will fetch more than a million dollars, funds that will go to two Baptist churches that played a key role in Talley's life.

Talley, a former U.S. Vogue editor at large and creative director, died on Jan. 18, 2022, at age 73.

"He was Anna Wintour’s right-hand man, and he also paved the way for a new generation of those who followed him, such as (British Vogue editor-in-chief) Edward Enninful," said Seigel, noting that he also played a role mentoring new generations of designers and writers.

Reporting by Manuel Ausloos, editing by Mimosa Spencer

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