Marilyn Monroe’s Record Breaking Seven Year Itch Dress

The auction of Debbie Reynold’s  Hollywood costumes and memorabilia collection  raised 22.8 million last weekend.  Included in this amazing collection  was Marilyn Monroe’s famous “subway grate” dress designed by William Travilla.  Worn in the movie  the Seven Year Itch,  it fetched a record breaking 4.6 million, far surpassing the pre-sale estimates of $1  to $2 million dollars.  Apparently Debbie Reynolds purchased the dress for 200.o0 when the MGM Studio went out of business back in the 1970s.

Among other noteworthy sales from this auction were Marilyn’s  red sequined gown worn in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” ( 1.2 million, with a pre sale estimate of $200,000 to $300,000),  the  Ascot Dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” ($4.4 million) and Judy Garland’s blue dress and ruby slippers worn for the screen test of the “Wizard of Oz” (1.4 million) . BTW, none of these prices included the buyer’s premium or taxes.  According to the many stories about this auction, it seems many of the pieces went to buyers from Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Debbie’s dream was to have a museum for her treasures, which consist of over 3500 costumes along with photographs, costume sketches, posters and props. But, unfortunately, due to financial difficulties, she has to auction it all off instead.  Is it just me,  or are there others who  think it’s kind of sad that many of these iconic pieces ended up with buyers from other countries?   Seems to me a collection of  this calibre is such an  important part of US culture and history, that it belongs here where Americans can enjoy and appreciate it.  It is our loss that her dream of a museum for this impressive collection never came true.

But this auction is only the first  in a series to liquidate her  massive collection. The next one will be held in December 2011.



By | 2014-02-17T09:06:51-04:00 June 23rd, 2011|Celebrities, Nostalgia|1 Comment

About the Author:

Hi, I'm Theresa, owner and chief classy dame at the Blue Velvet Vintage online boutique. Lover of mid century fashion and home decor, classic films, Old Hollywood, pretty dresses, red lipstick, swing dancing and retro culture in general. Between my ecommere site and vintage style blog my mission is to revive the eras of classy dressing and inspire women to add more glamour to their lives! So don't be shy! I love to hear from others who share my appreciation of the styles of the past.

One Comment

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    Susan June 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    She DID have a museum, it was in Vegas. It was amazing! I cried when I saw the red sequin dress from “Gentlemen…”

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