Forget what you’ve heard about the end of conspicuous consumption. The big hitters are still out there spending like mad. Last month, as you may have heard, Christies auctioned off items from the Yves Saint-Laurent collection for a total of $431 million. Over at Gawker, Owen Thomas points out that the prize for decadence at this “orgy of consumption” goes to an arm-chair that sold for $28 million.
The Economist reveals, in a passing reference, that the man who spent that money on a chair was Henry Kravis.
Of course, the person holding the paddle in Paris was dealer Cheska Vallois, who has been suspected of secretly making purchases for Kravis before. In 2004, rumour had it that he’d purchased an entire suite of furniture by early 20th-century designer Armand-Albert Rateau.
“There are still a lot of extremely wealthy people out there,” Christie’s managing director Edward Dolman told Bloomberg of the auction which included the “Dragons” armchair, designed by Eileen grey.
Just not ones who invested with Kravis. KKR Private Equity and KKR Financial, two publicly traded affiliates of Kravis’s KKR & Co. buyout firm, have had heavy writedowns on their stakes in debt-laden firms and mortgage and corporate bonds. KPE, which raised $5 billion in 2006, is down 91 per cent; KFN is down 95 per cent since its 2005 IPO.