Monroe's skirt-flying dress goes for £2.8m!

20 June 2011

Morning campers! Hands up who spent their weekend indulging in a spot of vintage shopping? Lots of people we bet. Some of us, though, might have splashed out a bit more than others, like the unidentified telephone bidder at an auction in Los Angeles who paid $4.6 million (which is £2.8m!) for the white dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch (yep, the full skirted number that blew up over the grate in that immortal scene).

The story behind the auction is an interesting one too. Actress Debbie Reynolds had built up a huge collection of film memorabilia over forty years of collecting. Reynolds, who is now 79, had always planned to open a museum to showcase her treasures, but the plan never came off and the actress found herself with mounting bills to stores and maintain the hoard.

Reynolds began collecting props and costumes in 1970 and had amassed some 3,500 items. Other movie-magic themed items to have gone under the hammer at the weekend included a red sequined dress and feathered headdress worn for Monroe's role in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes reached $1.47m, and a saloon girl costume from River of No Return for $510,000. Other lots included Elizabeth Taylor's Cleopatra headdress, (And HOW GOOD would that look for a dressing up sesh at any of the cool festivals this summer? We CAN’T BELIEVE we’ve missed out on that!) a Charlie Chaplin bowler hat and the guitar played by Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

Speaking before the auction, Debbie Reynolds (who later shed a tear when the dress was sold) said the cost of maintaining them had become too high and that by selling them ‘I won't have quite so much responsibility and I can rest a little more’. Bless.

-Naomi Attwood


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