Gallery of Period Costumes to be sold in largest auction ever

What an astounding collection!

It is a shame that these outfits and memorabilia lovingly acquired over 4 decades by actress Debbie Reynolds are now to be sold individually at auction. Many of us would have loved to see a museum created to house these period pieces but sadly that did not happen and not for lack of trying on Reynold's part!

However, since they're now up for auction, it gives us a chance to see them! Here I've posted just a sample of the period costumes in the catalogue for Profiles in History!

Shown on left: Audrey Hepburn’s iconic Ascot dress from My Fair Lady (1964) designed by legendary costume designer Cecil Beaton. (listed at $200,000 to $300,000)

The Virgin Queen (1955)
1. Bette Davis “Queen Elizabeth I” golden yellow brocade royal gown
2. Joan Collins “Beth Throgmorton” rose brocade gown
3. Bette Davis “Queen Elizabeth I” rose-colored silk royal gown

The Sound of Music (1965)
Three dresses worn by Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp (The brown jumper worn by Maria as she sang Do-Re-Mi, is listed at $30,000-60,000 while the green dress is listed for $6-8,000 and the beige peasant dress is listed at $30-50,000)

The Sound of Music (1965)
"Drapery" costumes worn by Debbie Turner “Marta” and Kym Karath “Gretl”

Marie Antoinette (1938)
1. Norma Shearer “Marie Antoinette” umber silk velvet two-piece dress
(Also worn by Lucille Ball as “Madame Du Barry” in
Du Barry Was A Lady)
2. Norma Shearer “Marie Antoinette” ivory with black velvet two-piece gown

Marie Antoinette (1938)
1. John Barrymore “King Louis XV” peach silk brocade jacket
2. Joseph Schildkraut “Duke d’Orleans” wine velvet period coat

Pride and Prejudice (1940)
1. Laurence Olivier “Mr. Darcy” green wool tailcoat
2. Ann Rutherford “Lydia Bennet” Green wool dress
3. Melville Cooper “Mr. Collins” grey wool tailcoat

Raintree County (1957)
Dresses worn by Elizabeth Taylor as “Susanna Drake”

Mary of Scotland (1936)
1. Florence Eldridge “Elizabeth Tudor” green velvet gown
2. Katharine Hepburn red period gown
3. Florence Eldridge “Elizabeth Tudor” black, red and silver gown

Little Women (1949) Designed by Walter Plunkett
1. Edna May Oliver “Aunt March” burgundy dress
2. Elizabeth Taylor “Amy March” lavender dress
3. Katharine Hepburn “Jo” brown dress
Little Women (1949)
Worn by Janet Leigh (Meg) and June Allyson (Jo)

Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
1. Olivia de Havilland “Lady Penelope Gray”
2. Worn by a Lady of the Court

Diane (1956)
1. Lana Turner “Diane de Poitiers” champagne velvet pearl-encrusted court gown
2. Marisa Pavan “Catherine de Medici” rose velvet court gown

Diane (1956)
1. Lana Turner “Diane de Poitiers – Countess de Breze” black satin gown
2. Marisa Pavan “Catherine de Medici” green velvet and satin court gown

Desirée (1954)
1. Marlon Brando “Napoleon Bonaparte” coronation costume
2. Merle Oberon “Empress Josephine” Coronation gown

Desirée (1954)
Pair of ivory satin Coronation gowns worn by Napoleon's sisters

How the West Was Won (1962)
1. Debbie Reynolds “Lilith Prescott” pleated silk gown with lace overlay
2. Debbie Reynolds “Lilith Prescott” silk floral gown
3. Thelma Ritter “Agatha Clegg” blue silk gown

Romeo and Juliet (1936)
1. Leslie Howard “Romeo Montague” black-velvet doublet and pants
2. Norma Shearer “Juliet Capulet” purple velvet embroidered dress

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1953)
3 court gowns worn by extras

Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)
1. Hermione Baddeley “Buttercup Grogan” peach silk floral gown
2. Debbie Reynolds “Molly Brown” signature lavender lace gown

Young Bess (1953)
1. Jean Simmons “Queen Elizabeth I” beige silk gown
2. Deborah Kerr “Catherine Parr” blue and gray damask gown

The Swan (1956)
1. Jessie Royce Landis “Princess Beatrix” beaded silk gown and
2. Grace Kelly “Princess Alexandra” ivory silk chiffon evening gown
3. Estelle Winwood “Symphorosa” red silk beaded gown

Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
1. Dolores Costello “Isabel Amberson” aubergine silk-velvet and lace robe
2. Agnes Moorehead “Fanny Minafer silver satin floral pattern ball gown

Mrs. Parkington (1944)
1. Greer Garson “Susie ‘Sparrow’ Parkington ivory lace gown
2. Greer Garson “Mrs. Parkington” portrait

1. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) worn by Judy Garland “Esther Smith”
2. Anna Karenina (1935) worn by Greta Garbo “Anna Karenina”
3. Beau Brummel (1954) Elizabeth Taylor “Lady Patricia”

1. Gigi (1958) worn by Eva Gabor “Liane d’Exelmans”
2. The Three Musketeers (1948) worn by Angela Lansbury “Queen Anne”
3. Gaslight (1944) worn by Ingrid Bergman “Paula Alquist”

1. Desirée (1954) worn by Jean Simmons “Desirée Clary”
2. Salome (1953) worn by Rita Hayworth “Princess Salome”

View more of the collection
(I've uploaded 100+ photos to photobucket)


  1. I want the Catherine Parr dress from Young Bess. *dies* How lovely!!

  2. What an amazing collection! Do you know if she just kept them tucked away or were they ever on display? It's such a shame that they will be auctioned individually - the collection is like a history book on movie costumes.

  3. Holy moley!!!! I think if I actually saw this collection in person I would leave a trail of drool behind me.

    So sad that it is going to be split up. Where is a costume museum that she can donate these to instead????? Can we start one?????

    I think Debbie Reynolds is so cool right now. I always liked her but now I know she has extraordinary taste too!!!

  4. Wow - these are all so cool! Wish I could get just one...

  5. @JenJust checked the listing, it could be yours for $2,000-$3,000. Actually it's estimated lower than I would have thought!

    I'm not sure if she ever displayed them. I understand that some have been loaned out to other museums at times. They are selling a book about the costumes ($40) at the auction website!

    @Jenny Allworthy
    Wouldn't it be great if all of us who love period fashion became shareholders for such a museum? She forgot to ask us! Still sadly baffled why it's come to this point.

  6. Oooo...I am going to check out the book. That would be the next best thing to seeing the collection!

  7. One of the best blogs ever created. I love it. Good luck.

  8. @Jenny Allworthy
    I was thinking that the book would be great to have as well. In the meantime, you can download a free PDF catalogue (over 300 pages) from the site which is where I obtained all this images!

    Gosh, thank you! It's such fun to profile these awesome films (and costumes)!

  9. Hey Cheryl,

    I did order the catalogue and download it as well. Did you read that some of the costumes will be at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from Oct 2012 to Jan 2013? Sounds like time to plan a trip to jolly old England!

  10. This is heartbreaking. All these wonderful costumes belong together in a museum, it's a shame they will be scattered.
    I will definitely try to buy the book.
    Keep on with your great work, Charleybrown!

  11. @Jenny Allworthy
    I did see the V&A museum article but was confused at first but I re-read it and I see they want to offer the prospective new buyers to loan it for their display?

    The more I look at how extensive her collection is, the more I am saddened that all her years of effort will be scattered.
    Thanks for your kind comment!

  12. I hope all of the buyers of the iconic dresses agree to loaning them to the V&A. I have already told my husband that we are going (what a great excuse for a fall/winter trip to London!) so even if just a few are there, I have never seen the V&A so it will be worth it. Do you think I can get a seat sale in Janary 2013?

  13. @Jenny Allworthy
    I admire how you quickly you decide to go and how accomodating the Squire is! I'm jealous!

  14. hello!!

    which auction sells them??..and are there also back vieuws??

    greetings marijke

  15. hihi
    i didn't read it well
    i found it and downloaded the catalog

    greetings marijke

  16. @mijndroomhuisje
    Glad you found the download link! I know that you are definitely one who will appreciate it! I cannot believe that they are providing it for our viewing!

  17. I also feel saddened that such a vast, and important, collection is to be sold off.
    A visit to the V&A for the exhibition will definitely be a must!! (Fingers crossed that they manage to secure enough of the costumes to make it worthwhile!)

  18. I agree it is tragic that this fabulous collection is to be separated and sold off! Is she short of money or something, or perhaps needing space? Thanks for the lovely pictures!

  19. @SandiI do hope so. It will be interesting to see what will happen. Enjoy your visit if you go!

    As far as I understand it, the cost of storing all these costumes has escalated so that Debbie came to the conclusion to sell them.

  20. Such wonderful memories of great classic films. One of my favorites, Audrey Hepburn's dress from My Fair Lady and that marvelous hat.

    I'm sad for Debbie Reynolds too after all her work and a labor of love for her.

  21. As a collector of vintage film costume, this was an incredible sale! I just hope the pieces have all gone to good homes :)

    This link takes you to some of my own collection:

  22. @thecostumecollector
    Ah, you're a true collector! I can only admire these from afar and can't begin to think of actually acquiring any of these so kudos to you!



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