Princess Diana’s Blouse, an Animatronic E.T. Head, and ‘Big Lebowski’ Robe Headline Memorabilia Auction - Kanebridge News
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Princess Diana’s Blouse, an Animatronic E.T. Head, and ‘Big Lebowski’ Robe Headline Memorabilia Auction

By Eric Grossman
Thu, Nov 30, 2023 9:30amGrey Clock 3 min

The blouse Princess Diana wore for her engagement portrait, E.T.’s head, and the robe “The Dude” wore in The Big Lebowski are just some of the wide range of instantly recognisable pop culture artefacts going up for auction next month.

Julien’s Auctions is partnering with Turner Classic Movies for the Dec 14-17 sale, titled Hollywood Legends.

“Associated with phrases such as ‘Danger, Will Robinson,’ ‘E.T. phone home,’ and ‘Avengers, assemble!,’ these iconic collectibles provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fans, pop culture enthusiasts, and collectors to own a piece of Hollywood history,” Martin Nolan, Julien’s co-founder and executive director, said in a statement announcing the sale Monday.

The sale comprises three components taking place over four days at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills (Dec. 14), Julien’s facility in Gardena, Calif. (Dec. 15-17), and online at

Featuring props, costumes, and models from some of the most iconic science fiction, fantasy, action, and superhero franchises dating back to the 1950s, the first program—billed as Robots, Wizards, Heroes & Aliens—will be held during the sale’s first two days (Dec. 14-15). In celebration of Warner Bros.’ 100th anniversary, an assortment of items from the studio’s biggest film franchises, such as Harry Potter and Batman, will be offered.

E.T’s Animatronic head
Julien’s Auctions

The marquee item is an original mechanical animatronic E.T. head—created by the legendary special effects artist Carlo Rambaldi and as seen throughout Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T. the Extra Terrestrial—that’s estimated to fetch between US$800,000 and US$1 millionThis model comes from Rambaldi’s own collection, as did the animatronic figure of E.T. sold by Julien’s Auctions last November for US$2.56 million.

Also sure to draw heightened interest is one of the most famous robots of all time, the Model B-9 from Lost In Space. One of only two full-scale figures that were made for the pioneering 1960s science fiction series, the still-functional model is expected to sell for between US$300,000 and US$500,000.

Fans of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 classic film The Big Lebowski will focus on day three (Dec. 16) of the sale, which will celebrate the film’s 25th anniversary. More than 250 items, including storyboards and costumes, will go under the hammer, with a portion of the proceeds going to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.

Expected to draw the highest bids are a pair of lots featuring items worn by Jeff Bridges in the title role. Estimated to go for between US$30,000 and US$50,000, The Dude ensemble—which appears throughout the film, including in the memorable opening scene—consists of a light-brown knitted fleece bathrobe and an off-white cotton Jockey T-shirt. An original pair of sunglasses featuring nylon frames with amber-coloured polycarbonate lenses is expected to sell in the neighbourhood of US$20,000 to US$30,000.

Glamour, Grace and Greatness, the third component of the auction, will close out the sale’s final day (Dec. 17) with items created by revered designers and worn by some of the greatest style icons of all time.

Headliner status goes to a piece from one of the most iconic images ever taken of Princess Diana: the blush pink chiffon blouse worn in her 1981 engagement portrait—famously captured by the world-renowned photographer Lord Snowden for the February 1981 issue of Vogue—is estimated to fetch between US$80,000 and $100,000. With its ruff-like collar and loose pleats to the front, the garment was created by designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who would later design Princess Diana’s wedding gown. The blouse, which Elizabeth Emanuel sold from her archives in 2010, was admired by millions when it was previously on display at London’s Kensington Palace as part of the exhibition “Diana: Her Fashion Story” that ran from 2017 to 2019.

Princess Diana’s Engagement Blouse
Julien’s Auctions

Another famous piece sure to draw intense bidding is a ballerina-length evening dress from the Moroccan-British fashion designer Jacques Azagury that was worn by Princess Diana in Florence, Italy on April 23, 1985. Featuring a black velvet bodice with embroidered stars in metallic thread, and a two-tier royal blue organza skirt with sash and bow, the dress is estimated to sell for between US$100,000 and US$200,000.

Other highlights include Givenchy-designed garments worn by Audrey Hepburn in one of her most memorable roles as Regina “Reggie” Lampert in the 1963 film Charade. A marigold wool coat is expected to sell for between US$20,000 and US$40,000, while a cream wool dress is estimated to earn between US$30,000 and US$50,000.

Fans of timeless classics can bid on iconic pieces such as the dramatic black satin sleeveless gown worn by Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in the 1950 film Sunset Boulevard and the blue and white cotton gingham pinafore worn by Margaret O’Brien as Tootie Smith in the 1944 musical comedy Meet Me in St. Louis.


What a quarter-million dollars gets you in the western capital.

Alexandre de Betak and his wife are focusing on their most personal project yet.

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Milestone birthdays and anniversaries, weddings, and graduations are momentous life occasions that some like to mark with large and elaborate celebrations.

And the deep-pocketed set are still in catch-up mode after a party-throwing standstill during the pandemic that went on for many months during the height of the lockdowns and social distancing. Bashes since then have become ever more extravagant and experiential—mere get-togethers, they’re not.

Hosts are also seeking any excuse to throw an event and having parties with the same “wow” factor for far less significant reasons, or for micro-occasions as they’re called, and even “just because,” according to luxury event planners who work with this elite set.

Colin Cowie, a planner based in New York and Miami who regularly orchestrates multimillion-dollar gatherings and was behind Jennifer Lopez’s and Ben Affleck’s wedding, calls it the “event revolution.”

“Large-scale events have become the norm,” Cowie says. “The wealthy, who are used to celebrating their life moments in a big way couldn’t do anything during the pandemic and are now going all out for anything they host.”

His company, Colin Cowie Lifestyle, plans 30% more events today than pre-Covid and has a lineup booked for the next two years. An example includes an upcoming million-dollar dinner party in the Hamptons simply to socialise with friends. It’s an affair with free-flowing Dom Perignon, centre-cut filet mignons, and unlimited caviar.

Colin Cowie Lifestyle plans 30% more events today than pre-Covid
Calen Rose

Other high-end planners also attribute the rise of over-the-top celebrations to a “live life to the fullest” attitude that’s become prevalent in the last few years. But they say that these parties aren’t necessarily about spending more than before—rather, they’re increasingly creative, thoughtful, and, with respect to weddings, longer.

Lynn Easton, a Charleston-based planner, says that her typical wedding used to span two days and entailed a rehearsal dinner plus the wedding itself. “Now, it’s a five-day bonanza with events like a groomsman lunch,” Easton says.

Easton also plans glitzy milestone birthdays such as one for a 60th where the host flew 60 friends and family to a private island. Dinners were multi-hour affairs in various locations around the isle with the showpiece being a five-course meal where the food was presented on dishes that were hand-carved in ice.

Another planner, Victoria Dubin, based in New York and Miami, says that, in a new precedent, the weddings she’s tapped to design kick off with striking welcome meals. She recently planned an al fresco rehearsal dinner at the Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s that recreated a Tuscan garden. Elements included potted herbs, lemon trees, vintage olive oil cans, ceramic plates, and table cards presented with palm leaves in limoncello cans.

Another planner, Victoria Dubin, recently planned an al fresco rehearsal dinner at the Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s that recreated a Tuscan garden.
Aletiza Photo

Pashmina shawls hung from chairs to keep guests warm, and freshly baked pizzas and Aperol spritzes were in ready supply throughout the evening.

Stacy Teckin, the groom’s mother, hosted the party with her husband, Ian, and says she sought to pull off a dinner that made an impression on their guests. “The wedding was delayed because of Covid, and now that we had the chance to celebrate, we wanted to go all out,” Teckin says. “I’m not sure we would have done that before.”

In another example, acclaimed planner Norma Cohen threw a wild safari-themed bar mitzvah for a client.

A four-day wedding in Paris where the ceremony was in a historic chateau and the host paid for guests to stay at Hotel Crillon
Norma Cohen Productions

The memorable occasion transpired at Spring Studios in downtown Manhattan and saw 400 guests be transported to the African plains: Details included mammoth replicas of wildlife such as giraffes and elephants, servers in safari themed attire, and entertainment dressed like giraffes. The event was one of several over-the-top parties Cohen’s arranged recently.

A four-day wedding in Paris where the ceremony was in a historic chateau and the host paid for guests to stay at Hotel Crillon, one of the city’s most luxurious properties, also ranks high in Cohen’s memory.

Then there’s a destination party in London that Cohen planned for a client who was turning 40. It as a six-day affair with dinners at swanky spots such as Cipriani, the Arts Club, and Cecconi’s at Soho House. The finale was Lancaster House, a mansion in St. James, where guests were entertained by cabaret dancers from the famed Ibiza club Lio Ibiza and feasted on prime rib and lamb chops and imbibed on Krug champagne.

“People today don’t want to host events,” Cohen says. “They want experiences that take you away to a different place and make you forget that the real world exists.”