The great masterpieces of the silver screen have the power to make us daydream, giving us unique and unrepeatable emotions. But movies also offer us beautiful lessons in style, and it doesn’t matter what era they are from: the great cinema icons are immortal and have also made such looks that have set the standard. From the divine Marilyn to the stunning Liz Taylor, here are the most beautiful and expensive gowns ever made for the movies.
MARILYN’S PINK DRESS WITH OVERSIZED BOW
The bright pink dress with the oversized bow worn by Marilyn is one of the most beautiful, expensive and the absolute star of one of the most iconic scenes in movie history. The actress wore it in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953 where she starred with Tommy Noonan, one of the best American actors of all times; since then, it has become one of her most recognizable and beloved looks ever.
It is not hard to see why its value has increased over time, not only because of its role in creating an icon but also because of the famous scene in which the divine Marilyn sings “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”.
What most of the public doesn’t know (maybe you don’t either) is that Monroe was a true perfectionist on set. For making this dress, she demanded that it be entirely lined with felt so that it would remain rigid with her every movement during the choreography.
What is the value of this fashion masterpiece designed by William Travilla? It was sold at the Profiles in History auction in 2011 for $356,500!
AUDREY HEPBURN’S STUNNING ASCOT DRESS IN MY FAIR LADY
Costume and set designer Cecil Beaton made his great masterpiece out of one of the most beautiful (and expensive) gowns ever seen in cinema: the one worn by Audrey Hepburn in 1964 in the movie “My Fair Lady”. We all know this precious white embroidered Ascot gown with black trim; after all, it could not be otherwise. It is simply amazing!
We recommend you catch up if you have not seen My Fair Lady. Based on the Greek myth of Pygmalion, the movie stars Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, an impoverished flower girl Mr. Higgins tries to pass off as a duchess. Meanwhile, know that her dress was auctioned off in 2011 and sold for over $4 million!
BARBRA STREISAND’S PRECIOUS GOWN IN HELLO, DOLLY!
This haute couture masterpiece is the most expensive dress in cinema history. And do you know why? More than $100,000 was spent on the making alone. Doing it justice in one of its most iconic performances was a very young Barbra Streisand.
In the movie, shot in 1969 by the immortal Gene Kelly, Streisand wears this gold velvet gown created by Irene Sharaff in a stunningly choreographed dress. It looks like a living jewel, and it is, as it is decorated with strands of real gold (14 karat) and with tiny gems and colored Swarovski crystals.
MARILYN MONROE’S ICONIC WHITE DRESS
Yes, Marilyn is recurring in this list of cinema history’s most beautiful and expensive dresses. But then again, it could not be otherwise since it was thanks to her that most of them became an example and a proper symbol of an era.
And the actress wore the “subway dress” in the movie When the Wife is on Vacation (1955) is one of the most iconic ever made. Indeed, Marilyn’s very image is often associated with this look, simple but sexy as any, starring in the very famous scene in which the skirt floats up, leaving her perfect legs exposed.
There is a very curious episode about this very scene. Director Billy Wilder initially chose the Trans-Loux station in New York to shoot it, but admirers would not let them work in peace. So he canceled everything to recreate the set in a studio in Hollywood, away from prying eyes.
This white rayon crepe dress with pleated skirt by designer William Travilla also sold at auction for a whopping $4.6 million.
LIZ TAYLOR’S REGAL GOLD DRESS IN CLEOPATRA
Liz Taylor is famous for dozens of performances, one more intense and beautiful than the other, but there is no doubt that she became the perfect embodiment of Queen Cleopatra. In Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1963 movie, she wears many beautiful gowns that made her legendary and as sensual as few on the silver screen.
Prominent among them is one of the most expensive and beautiful gowns ever made for the movies: the one Queen Cleopatra wears on her arrival in Rome, a complete representation of her great power. Shining and seductive, the golden dress is embellished with a very long 24-karat gold cape and a phoenix-shaped headdress sculpture decorated with serpents encircling the sun in homage to the god Ra.
This over-the-top creation contributed to the movie’s success and won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design (Irene Sharaff and Vittorio Nino Novarese). In 2012 the golden cape was auctioned for nearly $60,000.