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WHO WORE WHAT?......Elizabeth Taylor's Couture Fetches Record Amount

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La Liz Diva: "The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor" Auction at Christie's ended last week with a multimillion dollar BANG of a gavel! The Wednesday "Elizabeth Taylor Couture" sale--the third of a weeks' worth of auctions which included her storied jewels, clothing, accessories, memorabilia--took in $2.6 million. Of course, this didn't come close to the freewheeling frenzy which took place the day before when her prized jewels went for $116 million. But still, $2.6 million wasn't bad--all owing to Taylor's cachet, and, driven by competitive online and private collectors' phone bidding from China to Beverly Hills. All the Elizabeth Taylor Couture clothing/accessories lots sold, some beating their high estimates by more than 60 times. What is Haute Couture Worth...after Many Many Years: “To own a piece worn by Elizabeth Taylor, the last of the glamorous, great movie stars, is priceless,” said Fern Mallis, fashion industry consultant, who attended the sale. “There are people who buy it as collectors. Vintage clothing is like buying art these days, it will only increase in value.” I'm not sure I agree--and by the low estimates the Christie's Specialists placed on the items to begin with--neither did they. I'm sure that their Fashion and Couture "Specialists" know what these items are worth on the market so possibly, fashion and Haute Couture pieces (which retail new from $30,000 for a Chanel Haute Couture suit to over $100,000 for an Armani Prive' gown) may sadly not retain--or increase in value through the years like furniture, art, for example. Unless, of course, there is a provenance--such as an Elizabeth Taylor--attached to those vintage clothing pieces. Most of her one-of-a-kind Haute Couture pieces were being estimated at only $1,000 (if that!) for a Dior Couture tunic-and-shorts ensemble (it went for $30,000 kids!). Fashion Diva: Elizabeth Taylor was only 5' 2" tall and measured 36" bust 21" waist and 36" hips (about a 4-6 in today's sizing standards) and she was known for her fearless sense of style and throughout the years became a devoted client to all the top Haute Couture fashion houses. From cheeky Emilio Pucci tunics, Michael Vollbracht caftans, to "bling-ed"-out Versace jackets, lady-like "Jackie O" Chanel suits, to Dior, Valentino and Hubert de Givenchy gowns, Miss Taylor covered the sartorial gamut of styles. Many fashionistas and celebs were seen at the auction, eying what perhaps they might want from Elizabeth Taylor's Couture Closet, including designer/newly-minted IPO Multi-millionaire mogul Michael Kors, actress Jennifer Tilly, director Sofia Coppola and fashion designer Anna Sui. Supermodel Cocoa Rocha, walked away with...
This Givenchy 1980's yellow silk crepe de chine bolero jacket and trousers ensemble with embroidered arabesque silver and gold sequins. Included in the look was a fuchsia pink silk chiffon blouse with matching cummerbund and belt. She payed $3,250 (it was estimated to sell at $1,000-2,000). According to Rocha, she said she might wear it to next year's Costume Institute Ball. The priciest fashion lot was this Marc Bohan for Christian Dior Spring/Summer 1968 gown above of silver-encrusted sequin brocade with a matching purse. The gown and purse fetched $362,500, compared with the $6,000 estimate Christie's put on them. Taylor wore the ensemble to the annual ball in France given by Guy de Rothschild and his wife. Miss Taylor probably paid an amount comparable to about $30,000+ for the pieces back in 1968. Here are some more Highlights of Elizabeth Taylor and her Couture, with images of the items sold, what price and photos of when/where she wore them: Tiziani "Scorpio" Hooded Coat: a black velvet cape 1968-1969 with diamante scorpions, lined in moire' grosgrain silk. Tiziani was an Italian-based brand founded by a Texan, no less: Evan Richards. Karl Lagerfeld freelanced as a designer for Tiziani until 1969. Therefore one could surmise that this coat was a Karl Lagerfeld for Tiziani design. Taylor wore the coat to Princess Grace of Monaco's 40th Scorpio Ball in 1969, which she attended with Richard Burton. It sold for $60,000. The Christie's "specialists" estimated it at $2,000-3,000 (poor thangs!). Chanel Ball Gown and Cape: a scooped-neck with sleeves ethereal silver Chanel ballgown and cape of silver foil and silk chiffon from the 1960's. She wore the ensemble to the Royal Film performance of "The Taming of the Shrew" in London in 1967. The gown--along with the matching shoes and bag--went for $134,500. Christie's estimated the lot at $6,000-8,000. Valentino Couture Ivory Silk Gown: This stunning ivory silk crepe Valentino Haute Couture long-sleeved gown features a silver hand-embroidered Snow Leopard design in the torso. Taylor wore it to the 64th Annual Academy Awards in 1992. It was estimated at $4,000-5,000. It sold for $37,500, which is probably what Miss Taylor payed for it, back then, if not more. Arnold Scaasi "Platinum" Gown: this silver sequined cut-away leaf motif evening gown from the 1990's, sold for $72,100. It was estimated to only fetch between $800-$1,000! Thierry Mugler "White Diamonds" Suit: this royal blue suit features a peplum'ed jacket and silver metal closure. Taylor wore this for the Launch of her Perfume, "White Diamonds" at the Plaza Hotel in NYC 1991. Sunflower Yellow chiffon Wedding Dress: Designed by Hollywood Costume Designer Irene Sharaff--who designed her "Cleopatra" costumes. Taylor wore it to her 1st Marriage to Richard Burton. It was donated by the Elizabeth Taylor Trust to a "major American Institution" according to Christie's Head of Fashion, Patricia Frost. "Botswana" Wedding Gown: a Gina Fratini caftan printed dress featuring a patchwork silk bodice and silk chiffon ombre' sleeves and skirt section. It also had feather-trimmed "streamers". Gina Fratini was a London-based fashion and costume designer, born in Japan. The caftan gown sold for $62,500 and was estimated by Christie's at $10,000-12,000. Miss Taylor wore it to her second marriage in 1975 to Richard Burton in Bostwana, Africa. 1987 Dior Gown: a white silk organza with black silk gazar bodice gown from the House of Christian Dior. Malcolm Forbes presented Elizabeth Taylor--wearing this gown--with a $1 million check to amFAR at the 70th Anniversary Forbes Magazine Celebration. It sold for $15,000 and was estimated to sell between $4,000-6,000. Green Linen Embroidered Caftan: Taylor wore this in 1989 to Malcolm Forbes' 70th Birthday in Tangier Morocco at the Tangier Country Club. It went for $5,500 in the online auction. Nolan Miller black and silver beaded gown: Taylor wore it to the Golden Globes in 1985 when she received the Cecil B deMille Award for her Outstanding Contribution in the Entertainment Field. It went for $7,500 in the online auction. Atelier Versace "The Face" Jacket: An Atelier Versace rhinestone-beaded jacket featuring Miss Taylor in her most iconic roles, including Cleopatra. It was all hand-beaded. Taylor wore this sequined jacket to the Freddy Mecury Tribute Concert for AIDS in 1992. The jacket sold for $128,500. Christie's estimated it to sell at $15,000-20,000. Below is a video from the auction:

2 Responses to "WHO WORE WHAT?......Elizabeth Taylor's Couture Fetches Record Amount"

Pastry Goddess said...

Hi NIck,

I hope these comments are moderated before posting but I just need to let you know that "PAYED" is not a word. the correct word is PAID.

I love reading your blog and have never seen you make this mistake before, so lets hope that it was just a simple editorial overlook

Karen said...

Arnold Scaasi "Platinum" Gown: this silver sequined cut-away leaf motif evening gown from the 1990's, sold for $72,100

Dame Elizabeth wore this dress to the Operation One to One evening she attended with Michael Jackson 3 June 1992.

I thought you might like specifics on where & when it was worn.