A TALE OF TWO TOMMYS: Tommy Hilfiger is all about Americana, and that flag-waving spirit includes Marilyn Monroe.
During Julien’s Auctions’ recent Marilyn Monroe auction in Los Angeles, the designer won the Marilyn Monroe Pandora minaudière evening bag, a birthday gift for his wife Dee Ocleppo. Hilfiger triumphed “in an unintentional bidding war” with his friend Tommy Mottola, who wanted it for his wife Thalia.
The embellished citrine crystal floret minaudière included a lipstick, unused cigarettes, a comb and a heavily used cotton powder makeup buffer with a mirror — all of which belonged to Monroe. There were also two dimes dated 1943 and 1945 tucked away in the purse. By the time the gavel went down for the final time, Hilfiger had bid $187,500. Ocleppo started her own luxury handbag company in 2012 in New York, a modular collection designed so that “everything goes with everything else.”
Monroe has served as a source of inspiration for Hilfiger over the years, having once described her as “yesterday’s Madonna” on Tumblr. The designer also splurged for some Monroe memorabilia at a Christie’s auction in 1999 — a $37,000 bid won him the jeans the actress wore in “River of No Return” and a $75,000 one earned him a pair of square-toe cowgirl boots that Monroe wore in ”The Misfits.’’
The nude-colored sequined dress that Monroe wore to famously sing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy more than quadrupled in value from the Christie’s auction 17 years ago to the Julien’s one last week, selling for a record price of $4.81 million to Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The black beaded cocktail dress Monroe wore for “Some Like It Hot” was considerably more attainable with a final bid of $450,000. The tally was $11 million for a myriad of Monroe’s personal and professional items.
Fashion designer Bob Mackie took a seat in the Los Angeles auction house Nov. 17, the first night of the three-day event, when one of his sketches and book sold for $21,875. And executives from the Swiss watch company Blancpain made sure they were the night’s final bidder, committing $225,000 for Monroe’s Blancpain platinum and diamond watch.