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Private donation of iconic Chris Levin designs to boost Iziko Collection

  24 May 2013     Archived

Last Thursday evening a glamorous occasion took place in the Wanderers Club Ballroom Johannesburg, during which 50 magnificent garments of vintage couture from the private collection of South African fashion legend Chris Levin, went under the hammer.

Spanning forty years of fashion history, this collection represented South African vintage haute couture at its very best.

Strauss & Co is delighted to have attracted the attention of artist, curator and supporter of museums, Mark Coetzee, who generously donated eight garements to the Iziko Social History Collections Department. This welcome gift will begin to fill the existing gaps in their haute couture collection. It is fitting that garments of this level of workmanship, creativity and importance should form an integral part any South African fashion collection accessible to the public. Unfortunately, South African museums have limited funds and it is only through the generosity of philanthropists such as Mark Coetzee that our museum collections can expand.

Ms Rooksana Omar, Iziko’s CEO, commented, “Iziko Museums of South Africa is delighted that Mark Coetzee, our generous benefactor, has identified us as recipient of selected, stunning designs by Chris Levin. It is this type of generosity that makes Iziko Museums such a magical and interesting place to visit and engage with our exhibitions. We look forward to showcasing the Levin fashions in the not too distant future at one of our museums. The acquisition of these stylish gowns and dresses will complement the recent gift of everyday isishweshwe garments designed and worn mainly by black rural and working class women in South Africa, though also taken up more recently on the international catwalk, and recently displayed in the Slave Lodge costume gallery”.

Following his purchase, Mark Coetzee released the following statement:

"The opportunity to purchase eight wonderful pieces by designer Chris Levin, through Strauss and Co, and donate them to the costume collection of Iziko Museums is a small gesture on my part to thank the Iziko Slave Lodge (formerly the Cultural History Museum) for the great contribution they have made to Cape Town, our country and my personal learning. Since a young age our museums have been a place of great excitement and joy for me. I truly believe that all great cultures are based on the collective achievements of its citizens and the legacy we create through libraries, parks, museums, educational institutions etc. I am so honoured to be able to contribute to our National Museums and join the amazing individuals who have done the same in the past allowing us now to enjoy museums that enrich us, inspire us and teach us about human understanding. I do hope others of my time will do the same."

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