Marilyn Monroe's iconic dress from 'The Seven Year Itch' has fetched $4.6 million at auction.
The white dress - which the late actress wore during a scene where a gust of wind from the subway blows through a grate in the pavement, puffing up her dress and exposing her underwear - vastly exceeded expectations as it was sold along with a host of other memorabilia belonging to actress and collector Debbie Reynolds this weekend.
The dress had been designed by William Travilla and was made from rayon-acetate to give it sharp pleats.
Describing it, he once said: "I wondered what could I do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look clean, talcum-powdered, and adorable."
At the opening of the auction Debbie had joked to the room of bidders, "I've been collecting for 45 years and I'm only 40," although by the time the lots had closed she was left in tears.
Debbie had acquired the dress in 1971 when she bought all of Marilyn's wardrobe from studio 20th Century Fox. She had held onto the memorabilia of the late star for as long as possible, but upkeep of the items had driven her into debt and she had failed to find a museum which would look after the whole collection.
Among other items to be auctioned were racing clothes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1944 film 'National Velvet', which went for $60,000, her headdress from 'Cleopatra' and a dress and a pair of ruby slippers worn in a screen test for 'The Wizard of Oz' by Judy Garland, which sold together for $1.75m. Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat, as worn in 'The Little Tramp' fetched $135,000.
The identities of the buyers are largely unknown, but several are said to have been based in Saudi Arabia and Japan.