Clothing worn by celebrities appeals to many collectors, it represents a personal connection to the celebrity or to a specific movie or television show. There's an intimacy to collecting clothing. Some clothing can fetch quite a bit of money and clothing that belonged to Marilyn Monroe continues to be a hot seller. The famous beaded gown she wore to sing Happy Birthday for John F. Kennedy went for $1,267,500 at auction at Christie's in 1999.
For costume designer William Travilla, Marilyn Monroe was a muse and inspiration. Julien’s Auctions, the entertainment and celebrity memorabilia auction house, is auctioning off many of Travilla’s masterpieces of fashion in the upcoming “Property from the Estate of William Travilla” auction to take place Friday, November 8th, 2013 at the Julien’s Auctions Beverly Hills gallery. Travilla created her costumes for Don’t Bother to Knock and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and also created one of the most famous costumes in all of film — the pleated ivory cocktail dress Monroe wore in the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch. The iconic moment of Monroe standing over a subway grate while the breeze blows up the swirling skirt remains ones of the most enduring memories of the star. Travilla designed for eight of Monroe’s films.
His collection was bequeathed to his partner when he passed in 1990 and this is the first time these items have been up for sale. Items up for sale include original sketches which have been the focus of numerous press features as well as the gowns he made for Monroe early on and later would become the original ideas for her most famous scenes. One of the top lots is a Marilyn Monroe “Seven Year Itch” inspired Travilla gown estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. It's as close as you'll to the real thing. The real dress sold at a Debbie Reynolds auction in 2011 for an astounding $4.6 million. A sketch of the gown is estimated to sell for between $8,000 and $10,000. The sale also includes a Monroe/Andy Warhol Blue Tribute Dress which was created for an Andy Warhol memorial service at the Beverly Hilton and mimics the famous Seven Year Itch dress (Estimate: $4,000-$6,000). Other lots in the sale are also inspired by Monroe gowns including the candy pink satin dress worn in the number "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" and later mimicked by Madonna for her "Material Girl" video.
Other highlights from Travilla’s personal collection will include a brown chocolate Betty Grable dress worn in “How to Marry a Millionaire,” (Estimate: $2000-$3000), a black satin Linda Gray “Dallas” Travilla Gown 1980s (Estimate: $400-$600) and Travilla’s Emmy Award for “Dallas” (Estimate: $2,000-$3,000). Travilla also designed for other iconic women of film and music including Dionne Warwick, Faye Dunaway, Judy Garland, Jane Russell, Betty Grable, Lana Turner, Diahann Carroll, and many more. In addition to his achievements in Hollywood. He also created a successful high-end fashion line that spanned several decades much of it inspired by costumes he created for film and television. The sale includes items from his collections as well as sketches and some personal mementos.
“You cannot compare the influence Travilla had on Hollywood fashion history,” said Martin Nolan, Executive Director of Julien’s Auctions. “His personal iconic representations of Marilyn Monroe’s fashions and his incredible friendship with the screen icon is what Hollywood lore is made of."
The sale will be on exhibition from Monday, November 4th through Friday, November 8th, 2013 at Julien's Auctions on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.