Debbie Reynolds has collected over four decades some of the most iconic costumes and props in Hollywood history. She had been trying to find the significant collection a home suitable to its true value. Somehow it never worked out and she seems to have given up as on June 18 she will be putting up for auction many of the pieces in her collection which are both historically and culturally significant. The most valuable item in the collection is the dress worn by Marylyn Monroe in the movie “Seven Year Itch.” In fact the image of Marylyn Monroe in a majority of people’s mind is her trying to hold down her halter neck dress which is flying up due to a sudden gust of wind. The pre sale estimate for the iconic dress is $1 million to $2 million.
Such a huge collection of Hollywood memorabilia might appear kitschy to some but for Reynolds they are gifts from some of her closest friends. Reynolds began collecting in 1970. She, in fact, offered $5 million the whole lot of costumes, scripts, props, music from MGM but they finally chose to sell to an auctioneer. But she went about collecting methodically through auctions and private purchase. Audrey Hepburn’s Ascot gown, created by Oscar-winning designer Cecil Beaton is another masterpiece in her collection. The hat on top of the high necked dress simply takes your breath away. When you see the dress from up close you are stunned by the detail.
There is Claudette Colbert’s gold lamé gown from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1934 “Cleopatra.” You would be surprised to know that the evening dress Irene Sharaff designed for Barbra Streisand in “Hello, Dolly!” has over a pound of woven gold and real crystals sewn throughout, costing over $100,000 to make way back in 1969. The list of costumes is almost endless. There is something or the other worn by almost every major star: Rudolph Valentino, Greta Garbo, Douglas Fairbanks, Bette Davis, Julie Andrews, Marlon Brando. You have to appreciate the dedication and determination of Reynolds in creating such a rare collection.