After 50 years in a suitcase, Liz Taylor’s ‘lucky’ dress goes up for auction

Worn in 1961, for the reception of her first Oscar, this outfit designed by Christian Dior will be auctioned in early December in London.

After spending 50 years in a suitcase, a ‘lucky’ dress worn by the actress Elizabeth Taylor when it won its first Oscar in 1961, will be auctioned in early December in London.

Many thought that the dress Christian Dior with a floral print at the bottom, with a red rosette at the waist, has been carefully preserved for more than 60 years in the archives of the fashion house. The actress had actually given it in 1971, along with a dozen other pieces of clothing, to a former assistant, Anne Sanz. She had kept it in a plastic suitcase, stored in a bedroom.

Elizabeth Taylor, accompanied by her fourth husband, singer Eddie Fisher, wore the dress for the 33e Oscars ceremony, convinced that she would not win. She had been nominated three times in the previous three years, without success. And his marriage to Eddie Fisher, previously married to the famous actress Debbie Reynolds had caused a scandal, Elizabeth Taylor being perceived as a homewrecker.

“She really didn’t expect to win, having been passed over previously and because of all the negative press on Eddie Fisher”explains to AFP Kerry Taylor, whose auction house specializing in vintage fashion will put the dress on sale on December 6, and expects between 40,000 and 60,000 pounds (46,500 to 70,000 euros).

After winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role in the film Venus with Minkthe star had considered the dress as “a kind of lucky charm” and took it all over the world. “She still took it with her 10 years later. She didn’t wear it for other occasions, she just liked having it with her.”explains Kerry Taylor.

But Elizabeth Taylor’s travel wardrobe grew increasingly cumbersome, sometimes with over 40 huge suitcases, as she traveled the world in the 60s and 70s with her fifth husband Richard Burton, at the height of their glory, but also Anne Sanz and her husband Gaston, who serves as the actress’ driver and bodyguard. In 1971, opening her wardrobes at the Dorchester Hotel in London, and despite her sentimental attachment to her Dior dress, she said to Anne Sanz: “Take what you like.”

She will also give her a white piqué cocktail dress and a matching bolero for her wedding. Other clothes auctioned on December 6 include pieces from the Tiziani haute couture collection by Karl Lagerfeld and a black dress worn by Liz Taylor in the 1967 film Boomalso from Lagerfeld.

Over the years, Anne Sanz has worn a few pieces and given others to friends and family members, never considering them particularly important or valuable. “Anne obviously wore the piqué dress for her wedding, and she also wore a yellow and blue dress with matching coat”says Kerry Taylor. “But somehow it was just second-hand dresses that belonged to Liz Taylorsays the former assistant. It was “before the notion of celebrity became what it is”.

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After 50 years in a suitcase, Liz Taylor’s ‘lucky’ dress goes up for auction