Elizabeth Taylor's designer clothes to be auctioned

NEW YORK Wed Sep 21, 2011 12:29pm EDT

Elizabeth Taylor poses as she arrives for a A.R. Gurney's play ''Love Letters'' at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles in this December 1, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Elizabeth Taylor poses as she arrives for a A.R. Gurney's play ''Love Letters'' at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles in this December 1, 2007 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Designer clothes owned by Hollywood legend and fashion icon Elizabeth Taylor, including haute couture by Chanel, Yves St. Laurent and Dior, will be sold at auction in New York, Christie's said on Wednesday.

The silk chiffon dress that the Academy Award winning actress wore for her first wedding to actor Richard Burton will be among the nearly 400 times included in the four-day series of sales in December.

"One of the many great treasures within Elizabeth Taylor's vast collection is her extraordinarily well-preserved wardrobe," said Marc Porter, chairman and president of Christie's Americas.

"The stunning outfits she wore to galas, award ceremonies, AIDS benefits and even her own weddings to Richard Burton are all here, lovingly maintained along with the handbags, shoes, hats and other accessories that completed her superstar looks," he added in a statement.

The December 13-16 sales, which span over 50 years of fashion, will follow a global three-month tour which will also includes Taylor's renowned jewelry, fine art and memorabilia. It will be the second in a series of auctions from the estate of the legendary film star who died in March.

Nearly 6,000 people viewed the collection this month when it was displayed in Moscow. Stops in Los Angeles, London, Dubai, Geneva, Paris, Hong Kong and New York will follow.

Meredith Etherington-Smith, Christie's' curator for the fashion auction, described the items as "a highly personal collection."

"This is not a red carpet wardrobe edited by stylists but a treasure trove of looks chosen by the last of the great movie stars. Many of the pieces in this lifetime collection were couture, custom made for Ms. Taylor by designers who became her close friends, including Valentino Garavani, Gianni Versace and Gianfranco Ferre."

Some 68 of Taylor's most iconic looks will be auctioned at a gala evening sale on December 14, followed by hundreds of other fashion items and accessories in other sales.

Highlights will include a Versace beaded evening jacket arrayed with portraits of the actress in some of her famous movie roles, which is estimated to sell for up to $20,000.

The sunflower yellow dress by Hollywood designer Irene Sharaff that Taylor wore to her 1964 wedding to Burton has an estimated sale price of $40,000 to $60,000.

Taylor's estate was valued at up to $1 billion when she died of congestive heart failure at age 79. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibitions, events and publications related to the auction will be donated to The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, which the actress founded in 1991.

The series of Taylor sales are individually devoted to jewelry, haute couture, fashion and accessories, decorative arts and memorabilia from Taylor's Bel Air home, and Impressionist and modern art.

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