This month in New York a zoot suit sold for $78,000.
It was a world-record performance made all the more surprising by the disparity between the value printed for it in the auction catalog: $600-$900.
“I like to always be on the conservative side with my estimates,” says Karen Augusta, who owns the highly-regarded Augusta Auctions vintage clothing company that sold the suit. “In my heart I thought it could sell for as much as $5,000, maybe more. And then when I was deluged with phone calls from pretty major museums in the country, I thought well, hmm, this is going to sell for way more than I expected.”
Indeed. The cream-colored woolen outfit is the only zoot suit known to have been sold at auction in the United States. One buyer from a large museum said she had been waiting 40 years to find something like it.
Strange Random Clothes Quote:
It is an interesting question how far men would retain their relative rank if they were divested of their clothes. – Henry David Thoreau
- From the Bookshelves: Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style by Kathy Peiss (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
- Today’s Seriously Sagging Britches Have a Precedent in the Society Challenging ‘Zoot Suit’ (Review) (popmatters.com)
- “A Zoot Suit” – Dorothy Dandridge & Paul White Soundie (the1955hudson.com)
- Hep Cats, Street Fights (online.wsj.com)
- ‘Vintage is…’ by Rhiannon Hill (litandspoken.southbankcentre.co.uk)