Marilyn Monroe "subway" dress sells for $4.6 million

BEVERLY HILLS, California Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:36pm EDT

The ivory-pleated 'Subway' dress worn by actress Marilyn Monroe from the 1955 film ''The Seven Year Itch'' is shown June 6, 2011 at a preview of actress Debbie Reynold's vast Hollywood costume and prop collection. The collection was acquired over 50 years and is up for auction by Profiles in History in Beverly Hills on June 18. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

The ivory-pleated 'Subway' dress worn by actress Marilyn Monroe from the 1955 film ''The Seven Year Itch'' is shown June 6, 2011 at a preview of actress Debbie Reynold's vast Hollywood costume and prop collection. The collection was acquired over 50 years and is up for auction by Profiles in History in Beverly Hills on June 18.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

Related Topics

Photo

Best dressed list

People magazine picks the year`s best dressed.  Slideshow 

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) - The pleated ivory dress that blew around Marilyn Monroe in an iconic scene from "The Seven Year Itch" sold for $4.6 million at a weekend auction of Hollywood costumes -- far exceeding its estimate.

The so-called "subway" dress is perhaps the most recognizable in movie history. In Billy Wilder's 1955 movie, a passing train sent a draft through a grate as Monroe giddily stood above it proclaiming, "Isn't it delicious?"

The William Travilla design was estimated to sell for between $1 million and $2 million, the crown jewel at a 12-hour auction of nearly 600 costumes and pieces of memorabilia being sold by actress Debbie Reynolds in Beverly Hills on Saturday.

Monroe's red-sequined dress from "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" went for $1.2 million. Its pre-sale estimate was $200,000 to $300,000. Audrey Hepburn's Ascot dress from "My Fair Lady," carrying the same estimate, sold for $3.7 million.

The collection featured costumes worn by other Hollywood stars, from Grace Kelly, Natalie Wood and Elizabeth Taylor to Madonna and Mike Myers.

Reynolds, 79, began amassing the impressive collection when she was a young actress under contract at MGM. When the studio auctioned off everything except its real estate in 1970, she turned a pastime into what she called an "obsession."

But her dream of displaying her beloved costumes in a museum was dashed when a Tennessee project went bankrupt in 2006, and she was forced to sell them to pay back creditors. "Now everyone has the opportunity to own them," Reynolds said.

Other costumes sold by auction house Profiles in History included:

- Judy Garland's blue cotton dress used in test shots for "The Wizard of Oz," $910,000 (estimate: $60,000-$80,000)

- Kelly's rose crepe outfit from "To Catch a Thief," $450,000 (estimate: $30,000-$50,000);

- Marlon Brando's elaborate coronation costume from "Napoleon Bonaparte," $60,000 (estimate: $60,000-$80,000);

- Claude Rains' ivory military suit from "Casablanca," $55,000 (estimate: $12,000-$15,000);

- Taylor's brown period dress from "Raintree County," $10,000 (estimate: $10,000-$15,000);

- Madonna's black evening gown and shoes from "Evita," $22,500 (estimate: $4,000-$6,000);

- Myers' swinging '60s blood-orange outfit from "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," $11,000 (estimate: $6,000-$8,000).

- Wood's real-life high-school graduation dress, $4,250 (estimate: $2,000-$3,000).

(Editing by Dean Goodman)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus