Internationally known for her lavish lifestyle and glam taste, silver screen siren Elizabeth Taylor also boasted a playful side, and now some of her personal effects that bared it are hitting the auction block.
Items including a gold vermeil link belt, a sumptuous silk caftan and a studded black leather Versace biker jacket belonging to the late Hollywood legend will travel across the Atlantic on the famed Queen Mary 2 ocean liner, giving guests a first glimpse at Taylor’s treasures.
Following the actress’ death in 2011 at age 79, a week-long Christie’s auction in New York of her vast collection of luxury dresses, jewels and fine art saw total sales topping $156 million.
But this time the items anticipated to go for a wide range of price points show the side of a larger-than-life woman — known for starring roles in classics like “Cleopatra” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” — her closest friends and family knew.
“The icon on screen isn’t the grandmother that I would hang out with around the house,” said her grandson Quinn Tivey, a 33-year-old artist who is an ambassador for The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
“I don’t really know Elizabeth Taylor the celebrity,” Tivey told AFP aboard the enormous ocean liner his grandmother frequented, on which he will make the week-long journey with the preview of her items.
“To me she was just grandma.”
Martin Nolan — the executive director of Julien’s Auctions, which is hosting the sale — says some items like Taylor’s scarves or costume jewelry carry pre-sale estimates of $200 to $400, meaning not only institutions and members of the upper crust will have a chance at taking something home.
“I think people will be surprised that they will be able to actually acquire and afford to have something from the amazing Elizabeth Taylor,” he told AFP.
After their voyage across the Atlantic and to the Newbridge Silverware’s Museum of Style Icons in Ireland, Taylor’s effects will be taken to California, with bidding December 6-8 online and in person at a Beverly Hills exhibition.
The gold coin-chain belt from Cartier was a gift Taylor gave to her mother to match one of her own, which she engraved with the message: “To My ‘Hippy’ Mom All my love Elizabeth.”
The house estimates the belt could go for between $1,000 and $2,000, while the aforementioned leather jacket — which Taylor wore in 1992 on Johnny Carson’s iconic talk show — carries an estimated price tag of $4,000 to $6,000.
Tivey remembers growing up watching movies with his grandmother, her frequent advice on his love life — and even swiping the jacket from Taylor’s closet on occasion to give it a try.
He hopes that whoever buys it will “actually wear it” and share her style with the public.
Fascination with Taylor’s rich legacy persists because “she was true to herself,” Tivey said.
“She was never one to let fear be the deciding factor,” he said. “She always followed her heart.”
“She always had the courage to do what she thought was right.