Marilyn Monroe’s ‘subway dress’ expected to fetch up to $2 million at auction


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The dress that billowed around Marilyn Monroe to memorable effect in ‘The Seven Year Itch’ is among Debbie Reynolds’ collection of Hollywood costumes going on the auction block in Beverly Hills later this month.

Sometimes referred to as the ‘subway dress’ (Monroe’s character is standing on a subway grate when the updraft occurs) the ivory, pleated halter dress designed by William Travilla is considered one of the most iconic dresses in Hollywood history, and the Profiles in History auction house, which is holding the June 18 auction, estimates the value at between $1 million and $2 million.


Other unforgettable costume pieces from the silver screen include a Judy Garland dress from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ -- the Adrian-designed blue-and-white gingham test dress with a puff-sleeved white blouse used in the first two weeks of filming. In addition, there’s a test pair of the film’s ruby slippers (note that these slippers apparently did not appear in the movie), a green-velvet “drapery” dress hat worn by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone With the Wind’ and a bowler hat worn by Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ character.

The auction is scheduled to take place at Beverly Hills’ Paley Center for the Media, 465 N. Beverly Drive, starting at noon June 18 and will be open for public preview at the same location from noon to 5 p.m. June 4-5, 8-12 and 15-17.


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-- Adam Tschorn

Photos, from left: The halter dress by Travilla with Marilyn Monroe in it. Credit: Matty Zimmerman / Associated Press. And sans Monroe. Credit: Reuters