How I got my job as... luxury bag specialist at Christie's – Emirates Woman
Did someone say dream job?
Imagine having a career surrounded by rare and fabulous handbags? For some it’s a fantasy, but for Lucile Andreani it’s dazzling reality.
Since 2014 Andreani has been an Associate Specialist for the Handbags & Accessories Department at Christie’s in Paris – one of the most prestigious auction houses.
She participates in the curation of the Handbags & Accessories auctions in Europe, as well as sourcing and appraising material with an extensive experience in authenticating luxury goods. She was recently in our sandy city for an exhibition held at Christie’s Dubai which showcased some of the highlights from an auction in London.
Below she shares with us her experience and how you too can find a way to play with gorgeous bags as a career.
What did you study at university?
I studied at La Sorbonne in Paris, focusing on Law and Art History, as well as attending a Jewellery history course, before achieving a master’s degree in the art market.
What was your first job?
My very first job was in a contemporary art gallery.
How did you end up at Christie’s?
I was initially an intern in the Christie’s jewellery department in Paris – this was in 2013 – and I was hoping to find a longer-term position in the auction world, if possible, in the Luxury field. I was then lucky to secure a role in Christie’s newly-created handbag department in 2014, again in Paris.
What are the key elements of your role?
We have two auction seasons per year – spring and winter – in Hong Kong, New York, and London – and my role includes sourcing the pieces for the different auctions, curating the auctions in London, contributing my expertise to the catalogue, and presenting the sale to our clients, including touring with highlights to different cities. Finally, I attend each auction to assist my clients and the Christie’s team onsite.
Talk us through your daily routine.
Fifty percent of my job is developing relationships with new clients as well as maintaining close ties with our existing collectors. I travel frequently and I am always excited to visit new cities – not having a specific daily routine keeps my job interesting. The other 50% is spend on emails and being in contact with the global team in Hong Kong, New York and London – we are very close and love sharing ideas and expertise!
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
I did not initially expect to work in the luxury handbag market, but it’s been an amazing career for me, I love it since day one. Vintage pieces, whether in fashion, handbags, jewels, or furniture, have always interested me. My role at Christie’s combines my love for the auction market with the accessories, and vintage finds, in the best possible way. Each of the bags that we offer is like a work of art to me, due to their craftsmanship and heritage. I have a highly developed visual memory and I love doing research so these are extremely useful skills in developing my expertise about the bags we offer at Christie’s. I also love meeting our clients for valuations of their collections or advising them about pieces that they may hope to acquire.
Is there a brand or a bag that you are still hoping to track down?
There are some extremely rare, archival pieces created by Hermès which were not commercially produced but only for shop display, often made from unusual materials, these are incredibly difficult to find and I am obsessed with trying to source them, especially the metallic exotic skins iterations.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
I have learned so much from my Christie’s mentors — the female auctioneers and executives – they have encouraged me to grow in self-confidence and my abilities.
And what is the worst?
My father actually suggested that I should become a judge, but he and I are both happy that I didn’t follow this path.
What is the greatest handbag discovery you ever made?
When Jean-Paul Gaultier was the creative director for Hermès, he designed amazing limited editions that are very desirable collector pieces today. I had a client who had a rare ‘so black’ crocodile Kelly – black skin and hardware – but who insisted that she would never sell this piece. At the same time, I knew that another client had a special affinity for this exact bag, and in a matter of just a few days, I was able to facilitate a private sale through Christie’s between these collectors. It was an extremely satisfying outcome for everyone involved.