The blue and gold silk long robe by Balenciaga belonged to Fern Lombard Bedaux (1892-1972), the daughter of a Michigan lawyer who became the second wife of French-American millionaire Charles Eugène Bedaux (1886-1944).
The couple bought the 16th century Château de Candé, near Tours, in 1927 and had completed the renovations in time to host the wedding of the former king on June 3, 1937. Bedaux, who enjoyed connections with the Nazi high command, later arranged the royal couple’s infamous visit to the Third Reich.
Charles Bedaux committed suicide while awaiting charges of treason in the US and the chateau was virtually abandoned after the war but in the 1950s his widow sought to restore the family name and left the property in her will to the French Republic. Much of Madame Lombard Bedaux’s collection of couture clothing is now held at the V&A and the Louvre Paris.
The robe offered on May 19, that has a label reading Balenciaga, 10 Avenue George V, Paris, dates from c.1965. It was inherited by Lombard Bedaux’s late niece Elizabeth Hanley and came for sale from her estate with an estimate of £250-300 as part of a live online sale of Jewellery, Couture & Handbags.