Marilyn: A Hollywood Style Icon at Julien’s Auctions

More than 175 Marilyn-related lots will go under the hammer this Saturday, December 17, as part of the Icons & Idols: Hollywood event at Julien’s Auctions. The cover image above shows one of three volumes in a catalogue set which can be ordered here. Beginning a series of posts, today I’m looking at a selection of Marilyn’s fashion and beauty highlights.

A black wool cocktail dress with spaghetti straps and back zipper; worn frequently by Marilyn while in New York in September 1954, including photo shoots with Sam Shaw and Philippe Halsman (see above), and to dinner and the theatre with Joe DiMaggio; and she was seeing wearing it again in photos taken with business partner Milton Greene in January 1955. In excellent condition.

SOLD for $256,000

“A Mae West-inspired black ‘cellophane effect’ evening gown, worn by Marilyn Monroe during the filming of The Seven Year Itch (1955) starring Monroe and Tom Ewell. The quarter-length sleeved gown features a plunging v neck, black hook and eye closures down the front, a left leg slit and long train. An interior wardrobe label reads in handwritten black ink, ‘1-81-1 – 1231 M. Monroe A-734-05.’

In the film, costume designer William Travilla designed the gown for one of the film’s dream sequences imagined by director Billy Wilder. In this particular scene, which was later cut from the film, Richard Sherman (played by Tom Ewell) envisions his neighbour, ‘the Girl,’ impersonating Mae West in this costume, pairing the dazzling gown with green-tipped black ostrich feather boa, a pair of red marabou feather accented mules, and a cigarette holder – the West signature. [In Richard’s paranoid fantasy, the Girl and janitor Kruhulik (Robert Strauss) are plotting to blackmail him.]

Although Monroe and West never ended up crossing paths in real life, West was later quoted as saying [rather cattily]: ‘The only gal who came near to me in the sex appeal department was pretty little Marilyn Monroe. All the others had were big boobs.'”

SOLD for $56,250

“A black velvet opera coat from the personal collection of Marilyn Monroe. The coat features three-quarter batwing sleeves, a high shawl collar, and a black satin interior lining. No sizes or maker labels present.

After wrapping filming on The Seven Year Itch (Charles K. Feldman Group, 1955) and going through the devastating divorce from her second husband Joe DiMaggio, Monroe decided to take a break from the sunshine of the west coast and stay in New York in order to reinvent herself and her career.

Monroe was often photographed wearing coats and furs of a similar style while living in New York, circa 1954-1955.”

SOLD for $10,240


A white textured cotton sleeveless sundress with decorative trim around the neck and arms; with a back zipper and a back kick pleat; significant staining on back evident, broken zipper; eyelet trim frayed; worn by Marilyn in Sam Shaw’s series of photographs taken of her and Arthur Miller in New York City in 1957.

SOLD for $256,000

  1. “A black straight wool skirt with a side zipper and eye-hook closures, with back kick pleat. Hand tailored for Marilyn Monroe. No label or size tag present.” – SOLD for $10,000
  2. “A hand-tailored unfinished brown skirt with stitching still evident at the waistband and hem, side zipper, and back kick pleat belonged to Marilyn Monroe. Size is unknown.” – UNSOLD

“A pearl gray silk dress with the top portion being a fitted halter top and the skirt portion being three layers of gathered silk chiffon; interior label reads: ‘designed by Jax’; dress was well worn, as discolouration appears under arms and other staining is evident on interior lining.

Marilyn owned a total of four dresses in this style designed by Jax, documented as one of her favorite designers. Evidently a favorite dress of the star’s, she also wore it in numerous press photographs as well as off-set during the production of her last film, The Misfits.

Interestingly, a triangle-shaped stain appears on the right-breast area and this same exact stain is evident in a photograph showing Marilyn sitting next to co-star Yves Montand at a press party for Let’s Make Love (1960.)”

SOLD for $224,000

  1. A silver tone metal necklace featuring a single strand of small round rhinestones with a double circle clasp design signed, ‘Trifari.’ – UNSOLD
  2. A pair of silver tone metal ear clips signed ‘Japan’ with faux pearls and round cut faux diamonds in a floret design. The clips are contained in a yellow felt-covered case. – SOLD for $10,240

A gold mesh bill and coin wallet with a snap closure and a pink satin lining.

SOLD for $12,800

“A carbon copy of a pledge form for Makeup Artists, Hair Stylists, Body Makeup Artists Guild, Local 706. Monroe pledged $100.00 for the guild’s program book on August 18, 1954. Monroe’s handwritten message reads in part, ‘My thanks to Gladys Witten [sic] and Allan Snyder. Marilyn Monroe.’ Helen Turpin authorized the payment, billed to 20th Century-Fox. [Turpin styled Marilyn’s hair for The Seven Year Itch.] At the bottom of the receipt, Monroe wrote, ‘Inez Melson,’ the name of her business manager at the time.”

SOLD for $2,880

  1. At left: “A round jade-colored plastic and gold-tone metal container of lip color that belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The top of the lid is embossed with the House of Westmore Hollywood logo. The container features a mirror beneath the lid and the tray is still filled with used lip color, which is a shade of red.” – SOLD for $12,800
  2. At right: “A gold-tone metal mirrored mascara compact that personally belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The top of the compact is stamped with the words ‘Lilly Dache‘ in black lettering and the letters ‘ME’ in a black circle. The compact is opened by pressing a latch in the centre.” – SOLD for $12,800

  1. At top: “A plastic container with a tube of mascara and three brushes. The container is embossed on the front with the words ‘Waterproof Mascara / Black / Helena Rubinstein‘ and the top of the lid with ‘Black / $1.25.'” – SOLD for $7,680
  2. Bottom left: “A round glass and gold-tone pot of eyeshadow. The pot has a gold-tone metal lid, the top features a floral pattern beneath a raised plastic cover, the bottom is embossed with the Leichner brand name beneath a sticker that reads ‘Mauve / Made in England / Min. Weight 1/8 Oz.’ and is still filled with used eyeshadow.” – SOLD for $5,120
  3. Bottom right: “A black cardboard box embossed on the top with gold lettering that reads ‘Martha Lorraine / Eyelashes.’ Inside the box is a set of brownish-black false eyelashes. The small tube of glue is missing.” – SOLD for $7,680


  1. “A glass bottle with a teal-colored plastic lid, featuring a label on the front that reads in part ‘Liquid Mask by Anatole Robbins / $3.00 / Hollywood, Calif.’ that personally belonged to and was used by Marilyn Monroe. The back of the bottle features a sticker with directions. Robbins was a Hollywood makeup artist who had a line of cosmetics sold in department stores across the United States.” – SOLD for $2,240
  2. “A dark red round plastic pot of cream rouge, with stickers on the top that reads ‘1249 / Rouge Brunette / Dorin, Inc. / Distributor New York’ and the bottom with the words ‘This Hand Made Rouge is also available in a larger size No. 19 suitable for boudoir use / Dorin, Inc. / Distributor New York’ and is still filled with the original well-used rouge and puff which has the brand name printed in gold lettering on one side.” – SOLD for $8,750

  1. At top: “A gold-plated metal lipstick tube that personally belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The bullet-shaped tube is engraved with the Elizabeth Arden logo on the top of the outer case, with the words ’18 Carat Gold Plated’ on one side, has a label on the bottom that reads ‘Elizabeth Arden / Pink Spark‘ and features the original and used lipstick inside.” – SOLD for $10,240
  2. At bottom: “A gold-tone metal lipstick tube that personally belonged to Marilyn Monroe. The bullet-shaped tube is engraved with the Max Factor Hollywood logo on the top of the outer case, has a label on the bottom that reads ‘7-22 Max Factor Hollywood, U.S.A. / Color Fast’ and features the original used lipstick inside.” – SOLD for $12,800

  1. At top: “A metal eyelash curler that belonged to Marilyn Monroe.” – SOLD for $6,400
  2. Middle: “A beige fabric mask used for used for face slimming and chin-tightening, with stitching down the nose and around the entire front and elastic bands that are stitched together in the back. Both sides of the mask feature light makeup and powder stains from usage.” – SOLD for $5,760
  3. At bottom: “A bag containing a packet labeled ‘Ultrasol .33 Hair Bath‘ and dry powder. Marilyn’s checkbook shows that she paid $108 to Ultrasol on August 18, 1961.” – SOLD for $1,600

  1. At left: “A gold-tone plastic hair comb belonged to Marilyn Monroe.” – SOLD for $5,120
  2. At right: “A braided blonde partial hairpiece. The long thin braid is braided with blonde-colored twine on one end and is believed to have been used to wrap around natural hair to add dimension.” – SOLD for $2,560