You will probably know by now that Hollywood Actor Debbie Reynolds is selling off her private collection of dresses and other film memorabilia.
She has stated she is selling due to a ‘difficult economic situation’ – sounds euphemistic to me! The collection is expected to fetch more than $7 million, an amount I would have thought to overcome most personal economic misfortunes!
This collection is extensive and extraordinary. Not just the Marilyn Monroe white halter-neck subway ‘Seven Year Itch’ dress or the Audrey Hepburn Givenchy black cocktail ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ dress that the media – and fashion media in particular – have understandably focused on, but an endless Hollywood treasure trove of costumes and artefacts – artefacts such as Motion Picture cameras and set beds and for example you are not just getting Julie Andrews’ brown workday jumper and blouse in The Sound of Music but the guitar she played on the Do-re-mi sequence too!
Debbie Reynolds had wanted the collection to remain intact ideally in a museum but could find no willing private or public institution so is now selling them piece by piece at a Beverley Hills, California auction June 18 held by Profiles in History.
This is a shame – I am sure the collection will be a sell-out with wealthy bidders aplenty – but this will then mean that such pieces as Claudette Colbert’s Travis Banton designed gold Cleopatra gown will end up in a closet in some wealthy apartment or mansion unseen thereafter beyond the buyers, their family and close friends, and some fortunate house-staffers. It is not like paintings which at least can have a mass-production print to remind us of their beauty and skill – high fashion can be made Ready To Wear too but good luck to anyone mass-producing the Barbra Streisand $100,000 Hello Dolly gold gown!
I should add that should you live near to Beverley Hills the collection is now open to you right up to the day before the auction itself. I hope that some one will film it for posterity.
- Debbie Reynolds’s Costume Collection (online.wsj.com)