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Five Cool Costumes at the TCM & Bonhams Auction Ending Monday

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

You still have a chance to bid on pieces worn by Shirley MacLaine, Lauren Bacall, Veronica Lake and others.

Shirley MacLaine and Gene Kelly in a 1964’s “What a Way to Go!” Her costume is part of an online auction ending Monday.

A dressing gown worn by Lauren Bacall in 1950’s Young Man With a Horn, a velvet cloak seen on Veronica Lake in 1946’s Miss Susie Slagle’s, and a Shirley MacLaine costume from a film beloved by Edith Head fans are among the offerings on the auction block in an online sale that ends Monday afternoon.

“TCM Presents … Little Treasures” is the latest auction partnership between Turner Classic Movies and London-based Bonhams, which have been collaborating on memorabilia sales since 2013. Past TCM/Bonhams auctions have featured iconic items that range from an Hubert de Givenchy hat worn by Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, which sold for $87,500 in 2013, to the piano Dooley Wilson was seen playing at Rick’s Café Americain in 1942’s Casablanca, which went for $3.4 million in 2014.

Marlon Brando’s makeup case, part of “TCM Presents … Little Treasures,” an online auction that concludes Monday, 29 June.

With bidding open until 1 p.m. ET Monday, 29 June, this wide-ranging online auction of 242 lots includes vintage posters, scripts, photographs, animation cels, props and other items, from Marlon Brando’s personal makeup case – expected to fetch between $10,000 and $15,000 – to a western saddle from Steve McQueen’s personal collection, which carries an auction estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. Also included within the sale are 25 lots that have been grouped as “The Sporting Collection of James Garner” – 100 percent of the proceeds from those lots will go to the animal rescue fund named for the late actor, who passed away in 2014.

A healthy assortment of costumes also can be found in “TCM Presents … Little Treasures,” from partial looks – a pair of matador pants Tyrone Power wore in 1941’s Blood and Sand, and a skirt Kay Thompson wore in 1957’s Funny Face, among them – to gowns, capes and robes. Here, Screen Chic highlights five lots sure to pique the interest of costume fans:

A Shirley MacLaine Costume from What a Way to Go!

Fans of Edith Head often count 1964’s What a Way to Go! among their favorite of her films, as this fluffy comedy – which stars Shirley MacLaine as a woman who encounters both bad luck and increasing wealth with each subsequent husband – is quite the showcase for the legendary costume designer’s talent. (Moss Mabry also is credited with designing the costumes; the pair was nominated for an Oscar, but lost to perhaps the only other film and costume designer that could eclipse them in style that year: Cecil Beaton for My Fair Lady.)

Up for auction is the nautical-themed leotard and detachable skirt MacLaine wears during a dance number with Gene Kelly. A label inside the costume is inscribed “20th Century-Fox,” while the detachable skirt is also labeled “Western Costume Co.” The costume, which comes with both a photo of MacLaine wearing the look and a DVD of the film, carries an auction estimate of $1,500 to $1,800.

A Lauren Bacall Lounging Gown from Young Man With a Horn

Milo Anderson designed the costumes for this 1950 drama directed by Michael Curtiz, a loose biopic of jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, who’s been renamed Rick Martin and is played by Kirk Douglas. Young Man With a Horn co-stars Lauren Bacall and Doris Day, and honestly, Anderson’s costumes are among the most worthy aspects of this uneven film, which also had to downplay the homosexual implications of Bacall’s character in order to satisfy

the all-powerful Hays Office.

Bacall’s elegant wardrobe included this lounging gown in lime green, which opens at the front and is lined in yellow. Bonhams notes that the sleeves also seem to have been altered since Bacall wore the piece, which retains both its original “Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.” label, as well as a label for the actress that is regrettably misspelled: “L. Becall.” Last sold at a 2015 Profiles in History auction, the lounging gown is accompanied by its original auction tag, a certificate of authenticity, and a still from the film in which Bacall is seen wearing the piece, which carries an estimate of $1,500 to $2,500.

An Edith Head Dress from Lucy Gallant

Another terrific piece for Edith Head fans, this gown can be seen in a fashion-show sequence in 1955’s Lucy Gallant, which stars Jane Wyman as a New York fashion designer who is stranded in a Texas town on her way to Mexico, and through a wacky set of circumstances that could only happen in the movies, she decides to stay and open a dress shop, and by the film’s end also finds love with co-star Charlton Heston. The climactic fashion-show sequence (seen at one hour and 35 minutes into the film) also is notable for featuring an appearance by Head herself, who narrates the event and is introduced by Wyman’s character.

The mermaid-style gown is crafted of champagne-hued satin and is stamped inside with “Property of Paramount Pictures.” The gown’s relatively low auction estimate — $200 to $400 — is likely due to both age damage that can be seen on the skirt and because the piece was not worn by one of the film’s stars. But if you’ve ever wanted to own an Edith Head original, this is a fantastic opportunity.

Edith Head with the model wearing the gown up for auction.

A Doris Day Gown from It’s a Great Feeling

Milo Anderson also designed the costumes for this 1949 Warner Bros. musical comedy, which stars Doris Day as a waitress at the studio commissary, though she’s hoping for her big break in movies, which may happen with a little subterfuge and the assistance of Dennis Morgan and Jack Carson, who play themselves. It’s a Great Feeling is filled with fun cameos, including Joan Crawford, Patricia Neal and Danny Kaye, and Day wears this gown while performing “At the Café Rendezvous” (watch the scene below).

The black and gold gown is crafted with a ruched bodice in gold lame, while the striped skirt features multiple layers and a crinoline. The inside is stamped with a “Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.” label, as well as a second label indicating that at one time it was owned by renowned Hollywood costume collector Gene London. Carrying an auction estimate of $2,500 to $3,500, the gown was last sold at Julien’s Auctions in 2015 and will be accompanied by its previous auction tag, a description card and a film still of Day wearing the gown.

A Veronica Lake Cloak from Miss Susie Slagle’s

From Paramount Pictures, Miss Susie Slagle’s is a 1946 drama starring Veronica Lake as Nan, a nursing student who falls in love with a medical student who plans to return to China once he finishes his studies. They meet during a snowy Christmas scene in which Lake wears this cloak, which was designed by either Edith Head or Mary Kay Dodson, both of whom are credited with designing the costumes for Miss Susie Slagle’s. (Lillian Gish also stars in the film as the titular Miss Susie, who runs the boarding house favored by the students.)

The deep green wool cloak features a gold silk lining, a partial silk belt, and fur trim on the cuffs and hood. A label is inscribed with both “Paramount” and “Lake” inside. The piece is estimated to sell for between $2,000 and $4,000 and comes with a photo of Lake on set between takes, wearing the cloak.

All images courtesy of Bonhams.


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