Sotheby’s Launches The Emporium With Gucci Westman as its First Guest Curator

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The venerable auction house Sotheby’s may be more than two centuries old, but that doesn’t mean it has let the dust settle. Today, the company announces the opening of The Emporium, a retail venue showcasing an unusual and delightful assortment of art, design, and other luxury items. While auctions are taking place upstairs, here you don’t need to wave a paddle and place the winning bid—you can just walk in, wave your credit card, and exit through the gift shop with that fuschia Birkin slung over your arm. (Because you always wanted one! And you know that it has Sotheby’s assurance that its provenance is correct.)

At The Emporium, the eclectic merchandise reflects the wide-ranging interests of the house, and everything is, of course, vetted at the highest levels for authenticity. Here is a checkered Chanel purse next to a vintage gumball machine; a first edition of Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel poised a few feet from highly collectible silver Nikes, themselves residing not far from a spectacular three-stone diamond ring set in blackened gold.

To celebrate the opening of The Emporium, Sotheby’s called upon the makeup guru Gucci Westman to select a few of her favorite things from their Buy Now Marketplace website to be featured in the store. (The marketplace is another way that you can purchase something wonderful without bidding.) Westman, the founder of the cosmetics line Westman Atelier, is the first in what will be a rotating cast of guest curators, bringing their individual taste and special sensibilities to the shop floor.

On a sunny afternoon a few days before the store’s launch, I meet Westman at Sotheby’s. The Emporium is located off the vast main lobby, and as soon as we enter, our eyes are riveted by a limited-edition pistachio-colored 1959 Porsche sports car that, like everything else, is for immediate sale. (Sorry, readers—late-breaking news is that this convertible has already found a new home.) It is an incredible vehicle, and Westman and I can’t resist climbing in and clowning for a moment—but it is obviously not one of Westman’s selects.

Though most of the items for sale are inarguably gorgeous, Westman had other considerations when she agreed to particulate in this project. “Everything here is recycled and reused…so you’re not putting a lot more new stuff out there,” she says, musing about what the world has experienced over the past year. “This is a moment to pause and reflect and think about how we live. I feel like now I focus more on investment pieces.” The items at The Emporium have their own rich personal histories, and this especially appeals to Westman, because, she explains, “I’ve always gravitated toward story-telling.”

So what silent stories enthralled her as she made her selections? Westman was seduced by everything from a rare vintage Hermès scarf to a pair of Loetz gooseneck art nouveau desk lamps to a $95,000 gold, platinum, and diamond David Webb necklace—because isn’t every rug in your house a potential red carpet? Her discerning eye was also drawn to a surprisingly charming Japanese bronze and copper articulated prawn—the perfect summer house gift for just the right person. “I looked for things of value, pieces that have meaning and will bring you joy,” Westman declares. And isn’t that what we all want more of in our lives, as the dark days finally lift and all the things we love and treasure return?

Shop Westman’s edit, below.

Myochin-style articulated prawn

$495

SOTHEBY’S

Paloma Picasso for Tiffany & Co. diamond Sugar Stack earrings

$3,530

SOTHEBY’S

Giallo Giallo Bianco sculpture by Ettore Sottsass

$3,500

SOTHEBY’S

David Webb gold, platinum, and diamond necklace

$95,000

SOTHEBY’S

Justin McCarthy "Flowers" acrylic on masonite

$1,260

SOTHEBY’S

Mid-century modern end-of-day pendant

$765

SOTHEBY’S