Well, if like Clothes on Film you followed the exciting Debbie Reynolds costume auction online, thanks to a couple of days’ decaf you may have calmed down enough to process the results. $4,600,000 (plus $1,058,000 in taxes and fees) for Marilyn Monroe’s Travilla ‘subway’ dress from The Seven Year Itch (1955) was just one mega bid of many.
Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds has been collecting movie costumes, props and memorabilia for over fifty years. She had a dream of displaying her acquisitions in a specially created museum, but sadly this never happened. Instead she put the collection up for auction on 18th June in Los Angeles (with another to follow in December). It is fair to say we all expected a few of the ensembles would make big money, especially those from iconic and/or Academy Award winning films, but millions?! That is devoted fandom.
Some memorable lots included $210,000 for Rudolph Valentino’s ‘Suit of Lights’ matador outfit from Blood and Sand (1922), $910,000 for Judy Garland’s blue cotton test dress from The Wizard of Oz. (1939), $60,000 for Elizabeth Taylor’s racing silks from National Velvet (1944), $1,200,000 for Marilyn Monroe’s red-sequined showgirl gown from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), $500,000 for Monroe’s tropical print skirt, halter top and hat from There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), $450,000 for Grace Kelly’s coral (listed as rose) pink top and skirt from To Catch a Thief (1955), also $15,000 for Cary Grant’s grey wool jacket worn during the same sequence, $550,000 for Julie Andrews’ red-brown jumper and white blouse from The Sound of Music (1965) and $3,700,000 for Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot dress and hat from My Fair Lady (1964).
Absolute respect to the costume designers who made/sourced those enduring outfits. A list of sales for all 587 lots can be found HERE. Clothes on Film bid on several items including Edward G. Robinson’s silk slippers and pipes (went for $4,500), but came away with nothing more than a heart murmur. If you won anything in this wonderful auction, do please consider lending it to the V&A Museum‘s ‘Art of Hollywood Costume Design’ exhibit running next year. The world would be grateful.
© 2011 – 2012, Chris Laverty.