The record-breaking $115 million realized for Elizabeth Taylor’s famous jewels didn’t come as much as a surprise as the prices realized for her clothing. All of the 67 lots sold, most beating their high estimates and raising $2.6 million for Taylor’s AIDS foundation (10 times the estimated total.)
The priciest item was a 1968 Christian Dior gown of beaded silver brocade with a matching purse. It had an estimate of $6,000 but fetched a whopping $362,500. Two other items soared past the $100,000 mark: a Chanel ball gown and cape with shoes and matching bag ($134,500) and a Gianni Versace bolero jacket, beaded with portraits of Taylor in her famous roles ($128,500). Other highlights included the Gina Fratini dress she wore at her second wedding to Burton in 1975 ($62,500), the embroidered robe from “Cleopatra” by costume designer Irene Sharaff ($62,500) and a black velvet “Scorpio” cape by Tiziani that she wore to Princess Grace’s “Scorpio” ball in 1969 ($60,000.) Even Kim Kardashian couldn’t resist Liz-mania, purchasing three diamond bangles for $65,000.
Legendary fashion leader/industry consultant Fern Mallis, who attended the auction, said, “Vintage clothing is like buying art these days. It will only increase in value.” This is true not just of vintage clothing associated with celebrities, but all collectible vintage items (like the 60s guitar purse featured on Chelsea-Girl.com right now.)