Elizabeth Taylor’s 1961 Oscars dress has been discovered after it sat in a suitcase for 51 years.
The Christian Dior Soirée à Rio ‘Oscar’ dress was designed by Marc Bohan and worn by Taylor at the 33rd Academy Awards where she picked up the Best Actress Oscar for the first time for her role in Butterfield 8.
However, the gown was later given to the wife of Gaston Sanz, who worked as Taylor’s bodyguard and chauffeur for 20 years. Anne and Gaston Sanz were an integral part of the Taylor and Richard Burton household, and would travel with the couple wherever they went.
In 1971, Mrs Sanz says she was asked to come to Taylor’s suite at The Dorchester hotel in London and take her pick of Taylor’s wardrobe as the star was tired of moving her clothes, which consisted of 40 suitcases, around the world.
According to Kelly Taylor Auctions, who are now auctioning the dress, Mrs Sanz told them that Taylor considered the dress to be a “lucky charm” and that she took it around the world with her.
“However, finally a decade on, the star decided to lighten her load and part with it,” the auction site explains. “Anne filled two massive suitcases with assorted gowns and was also gifted a vintage crocodile dressing case with Victorian silver fittings. The collection features Christian Dior haute couture by Bohan and Tiziani haute couture by Lagerfeld, as well as a ‘black widow’ robe Taylor wore in the 1967 film Boom also designed by Karl Lagerfeld.”
The dress was subsequently packaged away in a suitcase for five decades until this past summer. It is now expected to sell for between £40,000 and £60,000 at the Passion for Fashion & Ballet auction which is being held on 6 December.
Auctioneer Kelly Taylor told The Times that she was "startled" to find Mrs Sanz had possession of the dress as she believed it to be in Paris.
The auction will include several of Taylor’s clothes worn in the 1950s and 1970s, along with Elton John’s Nudie Cohn bespoke 'Rocket Man' suit from 1971, and several items from the estate of the late Pamela Rooke, aka Jordan, The High Priestess of Punk.
Watch: Hollywood icon Richard Burton refused to ever carry cash