24 November 2015

“It was gingham, with checks of white and blue”

Yesterday Bonhams sold a dress for $1,565,000. It was made for a Kansas farmgirl in the early 20th century.

Now that sum’s only about half of the price of the Cowardly Lion costume Bonhams sold last year, but it’s still high enough to place this outfit fourth on this list of most expensive Hollywood costumes.

Two other garments on that list are also dresses made for Dorothy Gale, one used for only a couple of weeks of filming before the director was replaced.

This dress had an excellent provenance, starting with labels inside that identify its wearer as “Judy Garland” rather than a stand-in. As for after it left the studio, “This blouse and pinafore were retained by Kent Warner, the costume collector employed by David Weisz Co. to help organize the 1970 MGM Auction who subsequently cherry-picked many of the best pieces for himself.” It was last sold at a Christie’s New York auction in 1981.

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