Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Note: This story has been updated to reflect the winning bids for each item.
“Property From the Lifestyle of Elizabeth Taylor,” a three-day event presented by Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, kicked off today and runs through Sunday, featuring more than 1,000 lots from the icon’s archives. Unlike the high-wattage sale of some of Taylor’s most celebrated jewels and clothing at Christie’s in 2011, this event is more about items the star wore and used every day, says Martin Nolan, executive director of Culver City, Calif.-based Julien’s Auctions. “This sale still represents her as a fashion icon, but it’s also a lifestyle auction, with home furnishings and other items, and across many price points, from affordable to high end,” he explains.
With that in mind, we selected five items from the sale that might appeal to fans of Taylor, related either to her style, her sense of humor — or those legendary violet eyes.
Elizabeth Taylor Cowardly Lion Cookie Jar
Auction Estimate: $100 to $200
Winning Bid: $256
Anyone who knew Taylor’s sense of humor easily can envision this cookie jar in her kitchen — it’s also fun to think that she likely saw Bert Lahr, who famously played the Cowardly Lion in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, around the MGM lot. Standing 15 inches high, this is a limited-edition piece from 1994, is numbered 835 of 1939, and is labeled Star Jars Treasure Craft. The auction catalog notes that the nose is chipped, but if you can get past that or have it fixed, it’s a chance to own a piece of memorabilia that, if the estimate holds, can be had at a reasonable price.
Elizabeth Taylor Caftan
Auction Estimate: $1,000 to $2,000
Winning Bid: $3,840
Taylor was known for wearing caftans often in the second half of her life, and several are featured in the three-day sale. But this style, crafted in blue chambray with white embroidery around the neckline and on the sleeves, includes a special provenance: It’s featured in a famous photo shoot by photographer Terry O’Neill of Taylor with David Bowie in 1975 in Beverly Hills. The caftan also still includes the cigarette burn on the left shoulder, which occurred during that iconic shoot. This piece was designed by Bill Tice, a New York-based designer known for adding a glamorous touch to robes, caftans and loungewear, and includes a back zip. But given its history, would you buy it to wear it?
Elizabeth Taylor Hermès Scarf
Auction Estimate: $300 to $500
Winning Bid: $576
A healthy selection of designer labels is featured throughout this auction, including Prada, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Taylor also seemed to be a collector of Hermès silk scarves cashmere wraps, as the number of pieces in this sale would attest. As the iconic French house reissues and carries over its most popular designs, it’s tough to gauge the exact year of this piece, but Hermès first issued this “Chantilly” print in 1952, possibly making this a valuable vintage piece. “Hermès Paris” is printed in the lower-left corner of this scarf, which measures 34 by 34 inches.
Elizabeth Taylor Purple Gloves
Auction Estimate: $300 to $500
Winning Bid: $512
No doubt about it: Elizabeth Taylor loved purple, especially any shade that matched her legendary violet eyes, if the number of pieces in that hue — from clothing and accessories to amethyst jewelry — is any indication. “It was without a doubt her favorite color — you still see it in the archives; she loved to collect purple,” says her grandson, 33-year-old Quinn Tivey, a trustee of Taylor’s estate and an officer of the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which will receive a portion of the proceeds from the event, including all proceeds from a limited-edition auction catalog, outfitted with lavender covers in a purple velvet case. This set of three pairs of gloves are crafted in various materials, according to the auction catalog, and includes labels reading “Gerard Darel,” a Paris-based brand founded in 1971, and “Saks Fifth Avenue.”
Elizabeth Taylor Gianni Versace Jacket Worn on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Auction Estimate: $4,000 to $6,000
Winning Bid: $7,680
Not unlike the caftan Taylor wore during the photo shoot with David Bowie, this leather motorcycle-style jacket also boasts a special provenance at the meeting of two icons. Taylor had never appeared on Johnny Carson’s late-night talk show, but made an exception in his final year, consenting to appear on February 21st, 1992, just a few months before his final show on May 22nd of that year. The jacket, crafted in black leather and featuring silver studs in a geometric pattern on the sleeves and back, was designed by Gianni Versace and is labeled as such. Some studs are now missing, the auction catalog notes.
We’ll update this post with auction results as they happen; you also can follow the auction throughout the weekend on Julien’s Live.
All images are courtesy of Julien’s Auctions, with the exception of the Terry O’Neill image of Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie, which is courtesy of Iconic Images, London.