Liz Taylor couture soars to $2.6 million at auction

Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:44am EST
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By Chris Michaud

NEW YORK (Reuters) One of actress Elizabeth Taylor's Dior evening gowns sold for $362,500, boosting the total for the auction of her haute couture to $2.6 million at Christie's.

The silver encrusted brocade gown from 1968, with matching bag, had been estimated at about $5,000, but a protracted bidding war among several determined would-be buyers drove the price to about 70 times that, including commission.

The Wednesday sale, the third in a weeks' worth of auctions of Taylor's storied jewels, clothes, memorabilia and other items, was not marked by the freewheeling frenzy that prevailed on Tuesday, when her finest jewelry took in $116 million.

But the $2.6 million was still about 10 times the pre-sale estimate, owing to the Taylor cachet and also driven by competitive online bidding from around the globe.

Christie's said the sale set a record for a couture auction, although the evening's top lot was actually an Andy Warhol lithograph of Taylor which fetched $662,500.

"The couture was an extremely successful auction," said Andrea Fiuczynski, president of Christie's Los Angeles, who served as auctioneer.

The results, she said, were a testament to Taylor's iconic status, which she said is unmatched today.

"There isn't any celebrity now who does everything she did," Fiuczynski told Reuters, speaking to Taylor's work as an actress, activist, humanitarian, savvy businesswoman and style icon.   Continued...