Some of Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic costumes are hitting the auction block.
Items once worn by Hollywood’s most famous star will be up for grabs at Los Angeles-based auction house Julien’s Auctions in a Nov. 1 sale titled “Property from the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe,” Fox News has learned.
It will feature some of the icon’s most dazzling pieces from such films as 1953's “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” 1954's "River of No Return" and 1955's “There’s No Business Like Show Business," among others.
In addition, personal items will be part of the glamorous collection of 115 items. One of the coveted items is a plunging v-neck black gown that she likely wore to the July 1958 press conference for the 1959 film “Some Like it Hot.”
Couturier William Travilla, the designer behind the iconic “subway dress” Monroe wore for 1955's “The Seven Year Itch” also made the red dress she wore as showgirl Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The floor-length crimson silk gown adorned in sequins, along with the feathered headdress, is expected to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000.
There’s also the decadent three-piece ensemble Monroe wore for the musical number in "There’s No Business Like Show Business” titled “Heat Wave.” The dress, considered racy for its time, features a black bandeau top adorned with sequins and a floral, floor-length skirt lined with six layers of hot pink ruffles, which expertly showcased Monroe’s torso. The look was completed with an oversized white straw hat with orange flowers, as well as a black silk bikini-style bottom brief.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the outfit allegedly enraged Monroe’s then-husband Joe DiMaggio and he refused to be photographed with his wife wearing the costume on set. The dress is expected to fetch between $60,000 and $80,000.
DiMaggio and Monroe called it quits in 1955.
The outlet said the costumes were originally part of Debbie Reynolds’ collection of old Hollywood memorabilia that went up for auction in 2011 when the actress sold off her items after she attempted to create a museum. The Monroe memorabilia was then purchased by a wealthy collector.
“Marilyn is the ultimate legendary woman of Hollywood, so it was easy to include her in this auction, Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, told THR.
“Julien’s has become the leader in the world of Hollywood and rock ’n’ roll and especially Marilyn Monroe, holding the world record of $4.81 million.”
And the demand for items personally owned by Monroe has remained high since she passed away in 1962 at age 36 from a barbiturate overdose. Monroe’s iconic white costume from “The Seven Year Itch,” also once owned by Reynolds, sold for $4.6 million in 2011. The sheer, body-hugging Jean-Louis dress Monroe wrote to sing “Happy Birthday Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy also sold for nearly $5 million in 2016.
“In some ways, these items are almost like religious relics,” said Kent. “People just flock to them. These items that you wouldn’t think would have any value actually go for thousands of dollars just because Marilyn owned them. A recipe for stuffing that she liked in 1957 sold for $6,400.”
However, it was the legendary sheer, crystal-emblazoned “birthday dress” that truly made history when it was sold.
“She spent her own money having a dress designed for the celebration,” said Kent. “And this dress was really the closest thing that you could come to be naked on film at that time. It was a power play. She outshone Jackie Kennedy. She kind of outshone JFK himself. She dominated the event. She was on stage for what, a minute, singing ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President.’ But she’s the only thing anyone remembers about that night.
“The surprising thing that comes from her personal items is how deliberate and shrewd Marilyn was about planning her career and how she wasn’t afraid to take risks. We don’t mention this in the documentary, but apparently, when she went to New York, she went to Jackie Kennedy’s hairdresser. The same person who did Jackie Kennedy’s hair did Marilyn Monroe’s hair for that night… She deliberately set out to outshine everyone. And she did. It wasn’t an accident.”
"Property From the Life and Career of Marilyn Monroe" auction is taking place in Beverly Hills and online on Nov. 1.