A huge collection of designer dresses worn by Elizabeth Taylor is about to go up for auction for nearly £100,000. The beautiful garments were originally gifted to a “family friend” decades ago. They were forgotten before being rediscovered in an old suitcase.
The outfits include a dress designed by Christian Dior that Taylor wore to the 1961 Oscars. That same night she won Best Actress for the 1960 film Butterfield 8. She later called the dress her “lucky charm.” The dress is now expected to sell for approximately £60,000.
Ten years after this Oscar event, in 1971, Taylor’s friend Anne Sanz was invited to the Hollywood star’s suite at the Dorchester Hotel in London, England. She was then told that she could have “as many dresses” as she wanted from her wardrobe.
Sanz recalled that Taylor was “tired of transporting her enormous wardrobe” of approximately 40 suitcases around the world.
Sanz was married to Gastón, who served as Taylor’s driver and bodyguard. Gaston was a French World War II veteran and had worked for the actress since the 1950s. She is described as “one of her longest-serving and most trusted employees”.
This collection has now made it to auction and is expected to fetch a staggering £96,000.
Sanz also received a white cocktail dress, which she wore as her wedding dress when she married Gaston. This is expected to win £600.
She was later gifted a vintage crocodile cane, valued at £1,200, as well as another blue silk Dior couture gown that Taylor wore to a wedding. This is expected to claim a whopping £15,000.
In all, Taylor gifted Sanz 15 items, with an estimated total of £97,000. The items will be sold at Kerry Taylor Auctions in Bermondsey, London, on December 6.
Sanz and her husband became such close friends with Taylor that when they had a daughter, they named her Elizabeth. Taylor and her husband at the time, Richard Burton, were godparents to the child.
Kerry Taylor of Kerry Taylor Auctions said: “The family contacted me about this collection, they had been stored in a large suitcase in a spare room. I think over the years at Christmas they would take them out to look at and then I put them back on but they haven’t really been touched so they are in excellent condition.There are one or two items Anne wore but she didn’t wear anything couture.I just couldn’t believe it when I saw them all.I recognized the Soir e Rio dress right away, but I thought it was from the Dior collection. They made a duplicate, I had to contact them and say ‘I’m afraid they don’t have the original because I have.'”
He added: “With something like this, the articles are only the best they can be based on their provenance and there is nothing better than that provenance. There are so many photographs and letters that prove the couple’s relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. Anne’s husband, Gaston, worked for Elizabeth Taylor and Anne were family friends and very close to them as you can see from the photos.It is a once in a lifetime collection and I am honored and privileged that it came to me – any auctioneer would give anything for owning this prestigious collection. Some of the pieces will appeal to fashionistas and Elizabeth Taylor fans alike.”
Taylor died on March 23, 2011, at age 79. He died after being diagnosed with congestive heart failure some years earlier. He, too, had battled skin cancer and had also had an operation to remove a benign brain tumor.
His funeral took place the next day at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Before his death, he requested that the private Jewish ceremony begin 15 minutes earlier than scheduled. She said that she “even wanted to be late for her own funeral”.
She was buried in the Great Mausoleum of the cemetery.
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