It’s not everyday that one can rifle through the closet of a Hollywood actress, let alone that of a Golden Age starlet like Greta Garbo. Greta was discovered through a television ad for the Swedish department store she was employed at. She then starred in a few Swedish films and attended the Royal Dramatic Theatre before moving to America, where she had a 19-year and 27-film career (inluding Anna Karenina in 1935) with MGM. Not only was this Academy Award-winning actress named “the most beautiful woman that ever lived” (1956), she was also a women’s rights activist and highly regarded role model. Though Greta mysteriously retired at the age of 36 and made little of her personal life public, perhaps the items she has left behind can tell us more about her. For the first time, the possesions of the Greta Garbo Estate have been curated for public viewing and will be auctioned at the end of the week by Julien’s.
I was most interested by Greta’s wardrobe, which is filled with frocks and gowns best suited for a Tussaud's wax sculpture of the actress. Yet, among her floral tafeta dresses and wool skirt suits are several vintage pieces still fit to make a statement in today’s sartorial world.
Top: Peach silk dress, believed to by designed by Valentina circa 1943, current bid $200. Valentina Velour Coat circa 1957 (both appear in the book Greta Garbo: The Mystery of Style), $100. High-waisted Valentina wool skirt with signature spiderweb embroidered at waist, $100. 14 k “GG” monogrammed baby bracelet, $1300.
Middle: Set of 3 leather driving gloves, $100. Louis Vuitton hard case valise, $350. Vintage Swedish military jacket, $150. Cys New York silk shirt with french cuffs, “GG” monogrammed on pocket, $100. Silk monogrammed shorts with “G” on left thigh, $50.
Bottom: 14K white gold cultured pearl and diamond ring size 6 3/4, $300. 18K yellow gold Omega wrist watch and brown leather strap used by Greta while traveling, $1100. Wool and silk blend Saks Fifth Avenue overcoat with three-button closure (previously exhibited at Museo Salvatore Ferragamo), $100. Unlabeled black velvet tea-length evening dress circa late 1930s with rhinestones, glass beads, and jais embroidery along neckline and sleeves, $600. Black linen skirt with button detailing, $100.
View exhibit and auction items here.
Free Public Exhibit: Monday, December 10 to Thursday, December 13 10am-5pm.
Live and Online Auction: Friday, December 14 (Session 1 at 10am, Session 2 at 2pm) and Saturday, December 15 (Session 3 at 10am, Session 4 at 2pm)
Location: Julien’s Auctions 9665 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 150, Beverly Hills CA, 90210
Note: Prices listed are bid prices as of Monday morning and are subject to change.