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Rare early Lagerfeld fashion designs up for auction in West Palm Beach

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida--Half a century after Karl Lagerfeld first drew her in a blue tunic and a plaid, buckled coat, the woman in a fashion sketch for the House of Tiziani still seems ready to saunter off the page and into the street.

Other women in sketches along the same wall at Palm Beach Modern Auctions are drawn in outfits just as chic, but the one by Lagerfeld stands out in a crowd — much as the meticulously groomed head designer and creative director for Chanel does himself.

“There's attitude in her,” said Rico Baca, auctioneer and co-owner of the West Palm Beach auction house.

Baca hopes that attitude and the Lagerfeld signature attracts buyers to a Jan. 11 auction of an archive of sketches for Tiziani designs.

In the 1960s, the Rome-based Tiziani designed movie costumes and clothing for Elizabeth Taylor and other celebrities. It also was one of the European fashion houses where Lagerfeld freelanced, early in his career as a designer.

Lagerfeld built his fashion legend through tenures at Chloe, Fendi, Chanel and his own eponymous brands. And the German-born designer is recognized worldwide for his white ponytail, black sunglasses and black-and-white attire that includes high, starched collars. He also has branched out into photography and film directing and has published a unique diet book after shedding more than 40 kilograms to fit into clothes cut for younger, slimmer male models.

At Tiziani, though, he was a hired hand, a young ready-to-wear designer among dozens of others doing similar work for bigger houses.

The details Lagerfeld added to sketches for Taylor and other models — earrings, a flowing hem, a jacket's trim or a specific shade of eye shadow — show the creativity of a young designer making his mark.

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One of Karl Lagerfeld's few signed drawings hangs on the wall of the Modern Auction house in West Palm Beach, Florida on Monday, Dec. 30, 2013. Most in-house designers are not allowed to sign their work.

(AP)

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