As someone obsessed with vintage fashion, and especially old Hollywood glamour, I anticipated this past weekend’s auction much as a lover of football does the SuperBowl. Glad to see the art and craftsmanship of vintage clothes getting their due. Unlike most of the cheap dreck forced upon women these days, vintage fashion was skillfully constructed, a composition created to complement a woman’s assets. And the materials and colors were far superior to anything you’ll encounter in the shops of today.
Debbie Reynolds’ famed collection of Hollywood costumes and memorabilia were sold off after the idea of a Hollywood Museum in which to house it all never came to fruition. And what a loss that it didn’t. Approximately 600 items were sold off, netting dear Debbie a cool $18.6 Million dollars at Profiles in History on Saturday, June 18, 2011. Of course, there were so many amazing and recognizable pieces, it’s hard to decide where I’d have started buying if I’d had the funds to put my hat in the ring.
Well, I would probably start with anything Marilyn Monroe related, since she has been my muse since my teen years. Seriously, my mother used to call my room “The Marilyn Shrine” when I was growing up. But I digress, as per usual.
Check out some of the amazing fashion confections that were sold off–heading to who knows where–photos copied from Profiles in History.
Marilyn was said to have been unhappy with the “Heatwave” number in “There’s No Business Like Showbusiness,” feeling like she had to jump around like a monkey, when she wore this stunning costume by Travilla. Sold for $500,000.
This costume and Marilyn in action.
One of the best Marilyn movies, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, has one of my favorite costumes of all time, made identical for Marilyn and Jane Russell for the opening number: “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.” This was also designed by Travilla–head dress as well. I want a repro of this. Sold for $1.2 Million.
Marilyn was a mere 5 feet 5.5 inches tall, and usually weighed between 115-120 pounds, but my how she perfectly packed plenty of pulchritude and other goodies in that frame!
The biggest seller of the night was Marilyn’s famed “Seven Year Itch” dress, which went for an astounding $4.6 million dollars (before buyer’s premium, as with the other prices noted herewith, p.s.)
The famed “Seven Year Itch” dress- designed by Travilla. “Isn’t it delicious?!” is right! Travilla chose a rayon/ acetate crepe fabric, though he normally did not use man made fabrics. However, since a 100% natural fabric would not hold stiff pleats, he had a special fabric made that contained a man-made fiber to maintain the dress’s structure.
Watch the bidding go sky high for this most iconic dress. There is Debbie Reynolds on the bottom left.
Another glorious costume from one of my favorite movies of all time, “My Fair Lady” designed by Cecil Beaton. No cry of “Come on Dover! Move yer bloomin’ arse!” was needed to spur bidders on to $3.7 million for this beauty.
Carole Lombard’s dress, from “No Man of Her Own” sold for a mere $11,000. It would be nice if it showed up in Indianapolis, wouldn’t it?
What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a dress? Do you wear vintage or just admire it? Rarely will you find me in anything BUT vintage. And as you can see, that is becoming a more expensive habit every day!