11/20/2023 General, Modern & Contemporary Art, 19th & 20th Century Furniture & Decorative Arts
NEW YORK, NY -- Doyle is honored to auction property from the Estate of Hedda Kleinfeld Schachter, founder of the legendary bridal salon, Kleinfeld’s. The landmark sale on December 6-7, 2023 will feature modern and contemporary furnishings and artwork from her elegant Fifth Avenue apartment designed by renowned architect Peter Marino. Highlights include paintings and sculpture by Antoine Poncet, Max Ernst and Robert Marc; furniture by Peter Marino, Jean-Michel Frank, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Eugene Printz; and ceramics by Hans Coper and Lucie Rie.
Hedda Kleinfeld arrived in Brooklyn, New York as a 17-year-old; went on to build a nationally known bridal store; and in her retirement became the doyenne of the industry that she had revolutionized over the previous 30 years. She went on to excel as a pioneering retail executive in the 1950s and 60s, as the family store that she operated with her husband Jack Schachter expanded into ready-to-wear fashions and became one of Brooklyn’s elite shopping destinations. In 1967, Kleinfeld’s opened a small bridal salon at the back of its Bay Ridge location. The new department averaged two to three bridal gown sales a week.
Fast forward to the 1980s, and the store was selling two to three hundred gowns a week—some of them for as much as $25,000. The firm had grown to more than 300 employees, and focused exclusively on its bridal business. It had become the largest such business in the country, with a national reputation to match.
Miss Hedda, as she was known in the store, presided with a hands-on approach to each bride, whether they were Malaysian royalty, Texans who had flown in on a private jet, or New Yorkers who had grown up wanting a Kleinfeld’s gown.
The national media took notice. Kleinfeld’s made the cover or front pages of Time Magazine, The New York Times, and USA Today. The NBC Nightly News did its own feature story. Hedda became the go-to expert on bridal fashion, especially leading up to the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981. And in the middle of the decade, she and Jack hired the up-and-and coming architect Peter Marino to redesign the outside and inside of the now-iconic bridal store.
The association with Marino became a lifelong friendship and also led to his designing Hedda and Jack’s dream house, a large apartment that they purchased on the 20th floor of 880 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Marino, who had by now become one of the preeminent interior architects in the country, stripped the existing space to the studs, broke down walls, and even brought in wood paneling—and installers—from Scandinavia.
Marino also curated or designed all of the apartment’s multitude of furniture, artifacts, antiques, and artwork.
Hedda and Jack sold Kleinfeld’s— additionally famous nowadays as the location of the television show, Say Yes to the Dress—in 1992. Jack died in 2007 after 67 years of marriage, and Hedda this past March at 99. Media outlets from around the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Jerusalem Post, and the TODAY Show marked her passing by retelling her amazing story.
To view a special tribute to Hedda Kleinfeld Schachter broadcast on the TODAY Show, click here.
The Estate of Hedda Kleinfeld Schachter will be offered as special sections of the two-day Doyle+Design auction.
ART: Part I Wednesday, December 6 at 10am (Sale Info)
FURNITURE & DESIGN: Part II Thursday, December 7 at 10am (Sale Info)