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Seven Lots You Can't Miss at September's TCM/Julien's Auction

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

Iconic costumes worn by Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Greta Garbo are among the pieces up for sale at "Legends: Hollywood & Royalty"

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's
José Luis de Vilallonga and Audrey Hepburn in 1961's "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

ans of Camille, That Hamilton Woman, The Pirate and The Ten Commandments can enjoy a chance to bid on a costume from any of those iconic films during the latest event presented by Julien's Auctions and Turner Classic Movies — and it's a sure bet that one look in particular, from 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's, will spark a bidding frenzy.

"Legends: Hollywood & Royalty" is the latest auction presented by Turner Classic Movies and Julien's, the Los Angeles-based auction house that partnered with the cable network in 2022 to present sales of entertainment memorabilia. Set for September 6-8, "Legends: Hollywood & Royalty" features more than 1,400 lots that span a century in cinema in all genres, from superheroes and horror to sci-fi, fantasy and more. And with "Legends" in mind, Julien's also has curated a selection of dresses from the collection of Princess Diana, whose legendary wardrobe continues to draw interest from collectors more than 25 years after her 1997 passing. The Diana dresses are part of an overall "Royalty" category that also includes such items as a silver teapot that once belonged to Queen Victoria.

But for fans of classic film and fashion, it's the costumes and clothing by designers including Adrian, Edith Head and Hubert de Givenchy, as well as a 16-lot assortment of personal items once owned and worn by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, that are likely to attract intense interest. With that in mind, Screen Chic is putting a spotlight on those groupings — with one legendary sci-fi costume thrown in for fun. Here's a look at seven lots any classic-film fan is sure to love:

Estimate: $100,ooo to $200,000

From the Estate of Humphrey Bogart, these matching rings are crafted of 14-karat gold in a chain-link motif that's unique for wedding bands, and were indeed exchanged by Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall during their May 21, 1945 wedding at Malabar Farm in northern Ohio. Adorably, the 20-year-old Bacall was famously reported to say "Oh, goody" when she and Bogart were pronounced husband and wife. Bogart's ring is a size 9, while Bacall's is a size 7.25.

In an interview currently airing on TCM, Stephen Bogart discusses the rings. "My parents wedding rings are unique; they’re gold, but they’re chain links," he explains. "I don’t know why they chose those wedding rings, except to tell you they wanted something different." The iconic couple, who famously met on the set of 1944's To Have and Have Not, remained married until Bogart's death in 1957.

Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000

Among the frothy and famed confections Adrian designed for Greta Garbo to wear in 1936's Camilleundeniably ranking high on a list of her best-known films — this taffeta robe garners little screen time, which perhaps accounts for its low estimate. But it's equally undeniable that the look holds a rightful place in the pantheon of important Hollywood costumes, as it was designed and then worn by a pair of industry legends.

While this costume may not be as high-profile as the full-skirted ballgowns Garbo's Marguerite wears to the opera and other events, eagle-eyed fans will spot it in at least one bedroom scene. Crafted of oyster-hued silk taffeta, the robe features full gigot sleeves and pleated cuffs and is fitted under the bust, all details that would be true to the 19th-century period in which Camille is set. A studio label sewn into the interior right side seam is inscribed with "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Name: Garbo, No. 938."

Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000

Our research indicates that Janet Leigh may have worn this Edith Head gown not only to the 32nd Academy Awards on April 4, 1960, but to another event later that year, when Leigh shopped her closet and wore the beaded dress to the Los Angeles premiere of Pepe in December 1960. With its banded stand-up collar and overall sleek vibe, the belted gown was considered decidedly modern for its time and was crafted of blush silk georgette, then embellished with an all-over embroidery of silver glass bugle beads placed vertically on the dress.

Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh at the December 1960 premiere of "Pepe."

Edith Head custom-designed the gown for Leigh, perhaps as a favor to Alfred Hitchcock, who worked with the famed designer on 11 of his films. Five months after that Oscar ceremony, Leigh would star in Hitchcock's Psycho, a defining film for both the director and his star. Thanks to that film's immense popularity, by the time she and husband Tony Curtis attended the December L.A. premiere of Pepe — largely a Hollywood-set film, Pepe included both Curtis and Leigh in cameo appearances — the actress was a star equal to her spouse, whom she had wed in 1951. They would divorce in 1962.

Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000

At press time this gown already had exceeded its estimate in online bids and was up to $8,000, which may be a testament to just how beloved Vivien Leigh is within the classic-film community, as well as the fact that Rene Hubert costumes are quite scarce. This 1941 Alexander Korda historic romance about Lord Horatio Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton — co-starring Leigh's then-husband, Laurence Olivier, as the legendary naval hero — is also celebrated for its stunning visuals, costumes included.

If you're a fan of That Hamilton Woman — and honestly, why wouldn't you be? — and you don't recognize this costume from its placement on the mannequin, there's good reason: a full-skirted, bow-bedecked crinoline crafted of ruffled tulle, used to create the fullness needed to be true both to the period and to Hubert's original design (see the photo below), is missing.

Vivien Leigh
Vivien Leigh in "That Hamilton Woman."

The gown is seen during perhaps the film's most romantic scene, after Leigh's Emma has been told by her husband that she must say goodbye to Nelson — for the good of England, of course. Emma immediately confesses the plan to Nelson, and as they vow to travel back to London together, the scene finishes with a passionate kiss at midnight on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1799. As the clock ticks into 1800, Olivier kisses Leigh as his Nelson tells Emma, "Now I've kissed you, through two centuries." That line alone could be the reason this costume has gained early attention.

Estimate: $2,000 to $4,000

Funny Face ranks high among the all-time great fashion films, largely due to the incredible combination of Audrey Hepburn wearing a succession of stunning Hubert de Givenchy designs in this 1957 musical comedy co-starring Fred Astaire and the fantastic Kay Thompson.

This hat, however, falls squarely into the complicated conversation that arises anytime Edith Head's name enters the picture. Three years prior, Edith accepted an Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Sabrina, without mentioning Givenchy's contribution to Hepburn's costumes, a fact that has rankled fashion fans ever since, no matter how beloved Ms. Head remains in the dual stratospheres of style and Hollywood.

But the opening credits of Funny Face make it safe to say that this hat is indeed a contribution from Edith Head and not Hubert de Givenchy, as they note that the famed French couturier created the costumes for Hepburn's "Paris" wardrobe, and this hat was worn within the dusty environs of a Greenwich Village bookstore, before Dick Avery — the Astaire character modeled after photographer Richard Avedon, the visual consultant on Funny Face — sweeps Hepburn's Jo off to Paris and turns her into a high-fashion model, amply aided by Thompson's keen eye and assistance.

Crafted of straw and embellished with mango, cantaloupe and melon green chiffon, the wide-brimmed hat can be seen in this scene as Hepburn's Jo sings the Gershwin tune "How Long Has This Been Going On?" According to the auction catalog notes, the underside of the hat’s brim is lined with yellow chiffon, with a wire wrapped in avocado green velvet encircling the lip of the brim to retain its shape and structure. A faded stamp on the interior of the dome, meanwhile, says "PARAMOUNT." Finally, a print of an Edith Head sketch that highlights the hat is also included in this lot.

Estimate: $20,000 to $30,000

Friends devoted almost an entire episode to the fascination that arose among guys in 1983 when Carrie Fisher appeared in an early scene of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi wearing this skin-baring slave costume, a result of Princess Leia being taken prisoner by Jabba the Hut while attempting to free Harrison Ford's Han Solo from carbonite. While it doesn't fall squarely within the rank of classic film, the costume's fame is undeniable, which is why we're including it here.

Julien's is careful to note in the auction catalog that not all pieces of this lot are original: Indeed, the description kicks off with an important phrase, "Original production costume components," and then explains that "the original brassiere, front and back lower plate ... hip parts and two arm bands" are "original production-made castings that were professionally painted in recent years." The neck collar and chain, cloth parts and hairpiece, meanwhile, were "added for display only." A custom-made stand and mannequin are also included with this lot. Given its pop-culture history, something tells us this costume is going to exceed its estimate.

Estimate: $200,000 to $300,000

If any costume among this auction belongs in a museum, it's this one, even as it was only briefly seen in 1961's Breakfast at Tiffany's. This pink beaded and embroidered cocktail dress by Hubert de Givenchy may not be as famous as the iconic black gown Audrey Hepburn wears in the opening scene as she enjoys a croissant in front of the windows at Tiffany & Co. — among fans of fashion and film, however, this dress is an utter delight. It also boasts an impressive backstory.

Givenchy originally designed this dress in black as part of his Fall 1960 collection, and that design was subsequently worn by Lee Radziwell, sister to Jacqueline Kennedy and a loyal Givenchy client; indeed, Radziwell was wearing the dress when she and Kennedy were photographed leaving the Hotel Carlyle in March 1961.

According to the auction notes, it was Hepburn's idea to reproduce the dress in pink, with a lower scoop neckline, for inclusion in the Blake Edwards-directed film. She wears the dress late in the story, when Holly learns that her beloved brother, Fred, has died. Hepburn's thought to create the dress in pink was ultimately a genius idea, as Holly grieves her brother while wearing a dress in a jubilant color. The dichotomy of color, character and scene is simply fantastic; for further proof, imagine how different it might have looked if the dress had been crafted in the original black, the color of mourning. Symbolic, yes, but the irony of moment and character would have been lost.

Fold in the overt glamour, star power and renowned friendship of Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy, and it's little wonder this dress ranks high among the lots to watch when "Legends: Hollywood & Royalty" auction kicks off on Wednesday, September 6. For anyone in the Los Angeles area, all lots will be on display at the Beverly Hills location of Julien's Auctions from Monday, August 28, through Friday, September 1, as well as Tuesday, September 5.


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