Diving deep into her extensive fashion archive, Liz Goldwyn will be selling 300 pieces with Vestiaire Collective to support Dress for Success, a charity that empowers women by offering support, tools and professional attire.

We spotted a range of special pieces, including cult-favourite Maison Martin Margiela pieces from the 1990s to Yves Saint Laurent and Kansai Yamamoto. Find out more below

Tatler Asia
Above Photo: Courtesy of Vestiaire Collective

Liz Goldwyn is a shining example of a multi-hyphenate: she is an author, filmmaker, actress, writer, founder of The Sex Ed—a recently launched multimedia platform dedicated to education about sex, health and consciousness—and also a walking encyclopedia of fashion history.

Born into a Hollywood film industry family, she credits her film producer father, Samuel Goldwyn Jr, as her mentor. “My father would teach me about art,” she says. “He told me stories about the people in paintings, and I always imagined their costumes the same way that Fellini used costumes in films—as part of their character.”

Her fascination with clothes began at an early age. “For me, the interest was not so much the fashion but the craft and what a garment can express about history, memory, time, love and loss.”

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Goldwyn also had a passion for art, which eventually led her to New York City, where she studied photography and art history at School of Visual Arts. In 1997, while she was still a college student, she was hired as a consultant and curator for Sotheby’s newly created fashion department.

Goldwyn’s accolades are almost too many to list, but include a period as the New York editor of French Vogue from 2001 to 2002, as well as curating and producing several exhibitions, including a costume collaboration with Chanel.

Vintage Vocation

The Los Angeles native began shopping for vintage clothing at 13. “I was spending my allowance and the extra money I earned by recycling, so shopping second-hand came second nature to me. Back then there was a big retro culture in Los Angeles. It wasn’t cool to wear a designer label back then; it was all about finding treasures. I remember I could get a 1940s dressing gown for under $20 in mint condition,” she says.

Goldwyn has spent nearly three decades curating her personal archive, which is an extraordinary collection of rare finds, from burlesque costumes from the mid 19th century to one-of-a-kind pieces from contemporary designers including Issey Miyake, Maison Martin Margiela and Courrèges.

“I have a climate-controlled storage space in Los Angeles and a room in my house to hold my collection,” Goldwyn says with a laugh. “It’s not ever going to stop.”

Prized possessions

Goldwyn will be selling more than 300 items with Vestiaire Collective. The assortment of ready-to-wear, accessories, handbags and shoes spans over seven decades.  

Goldwyn expects her Mr Blackwell pieces to go quickly. “The late Richard Blackwell was an American fashion critic who created the Best Dressed and Worst Dressed lists, and he was also a designer. I’m selling a few pieces of his: a brocade gown with a matching coat as well as a floor length gown and an opera coat.”

She also suspects collectibles such as a pair of PVC-strapped Tabi boots and leather gloves by Maison Martin Margeila from the 1990s will go fast, as will a kurta-style wool coat from Yves Saint Laurent’s Moroccan collection and knitwear from Kansai Yamamoto, a Japanese designer who dressed David Bowie on numerous occasions in the ’70s.

There are some items, though, that she’ll never part with. “I often donate pieces from my collection to museums or loan them out for exhibitions, but I have a rasta hat that belonged to Bob Marley, and that’s something that’s staying with me,” she says.

A helping hand

Closet cleaning is never an easy task for any of us, but it’s a particularly daunting challenge for Goldwyn, whose archive could outshine some museums’ collections. “It was tough deciding what to sell,” she says.

Helping to focus her mind was the knowledge that parting with these pieces will help a great cause: 10 per cent of the sale’s proceeds will be donated to Dress for Success, an international organisation that aims to economically empower women by offering support, tools and professional attire.

“I got involved with [the charity] in the late 1990s when I started donating to their programme. I’ve met many inspiring women there who have changed my life, and their mission is one that is close to my heart.”

Also, she adds, a bit of a purge can feel good. “We don’t need so many new clothes all the time. Having the latest bag isn’t going to make you happy or define you. Style is who you are, underneath the clothes.”

The Liz Goldwyn archive sale will be available from October 25 on Vestiaire Collective.

Preview some of the items from the sale below: