Elizabeth Taylor’s Iconic Oscar Dress, Found in a Suitcase, Auctioned for £100,000

An Oscar-winning dress once donned by Dame Elizabeth Taylor discovered a year ago in an old suitcase, is now up for auction with a price tag of £100,000. This unique gown features a yellow bodice with a corset, complemented by a white bubble skirt adorned with floral and insect embroidery. However, it notably bears “perspiration” marks under the arms.

Taylor wore this dress to receive her Oscar for “Butterfield 8” in the 1960s, where she portrayed a Manhattan call girl entangled in an affair with a married man. She affectionately termed this dress her “lucky charm,” having worn it during a tumultuous period marked by controversy over her marriage to Eddie Fisher in 1959. The dress, a creation of Marc Bohan for Christian Dior, was initially believed to be stored in the Christian Dior archive.

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Contrary to this belief, the genuine dress was found last year in an old plastic suitcase in Central London. Initially set for auction in December 2022, it is again on offer. It is expected to fetch around £100,000 at Kerry Taylor Auctions.

The suitcase, containing other garments worn by Taylor since 1971, belonged to Anne, the wife of Gaston Sanz, who served as the bodyguard and chauffeur for Taylor and her then-husband Richard Burton. The couple, assisted by Gaston and Anne, travelled extensively. Eventually weary of transporting her extensive wardrobe, Taylor gifted Anne two large suitcases filled with gowns, including the Oscar dress.

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The upcoming ‘Passion for Fashion’ auction on 12 December will feature this dress, among other items from Taylor’s wardrobe. A Karl Lagerfeld couture cocktail dress previously owned by Taylor is expected to sell for £1,500. In contrast, her blue silk crêpe Christian Dior dress may fetch £15,000. The robe she wore in the 1967 film ‘Boom!’ is estimated at £1,500.

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Taylor, who passed away in 2011 at 79, has left behind a legacy that intrigues and fascinates. A spokesperson for Kerry Taylor Auctions expressed astonishment at discovering the actual Oscar dress, preserved in excellent condition alongside other garments since 1971. The condition report of the dress notes minor imperfections, including slight soiling, small stains, and a few pulled threads. Still, overall, it remains in good condition.


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