From tumultuous marriages to a vast collection of diamonds, it’s no wonder the world remains fascinated with Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor. Now, a collection of her personal items are set to go to auction – including a Givenchy emerald-green silk pantsuit worn to an AIDS fundraiser in 1987, a beaded Versace leather biker jacket worn on The Johnny Carson Show, and a blue chiffon evening gown worn to the premiere of 1974 film That’s Entertainment.
Held by Julien’s Auctions, the event will take place in Beverly Hills and live online in early December. In the meantime, we’re looking at the (many) reasons why Taylor, who died in 2011 aged 79, was a bona fide style icon. And always will be.
She Cuddled Up in Luxurious Coats
Coats aren’t often included in conversations about innate style, but Taylor’s love of beautiful outerwear really changes that. Countless archive photographs of the Hollywood show her in some of the most luxurious coats in lambswool and all kinds of fur. We’re not sure if a famous figure would be so bold as to wear so much mink nowadays, but the 1950s were a different time.
She Was One to Overdress
As a child actor who worked in Hollywood all her life, Taylor attended her fair share of red carpet affairs and formal events – and she really knew how to dress for the occasion, often going above and beyond to make sure she stood out. Some of her most famous outfits are beautiful ballgowns from Givenchy because she had a close relationship with couturier Hubert de Givenchy.
She Made an Effort for Flights
Taylor really rose to fame in the 1950s, starring in movies like Raintree County and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. This was an era when flying was seen as an event in itself, so everyone made an effort to dress their best.
Compare this to now, when we’re so used to flying that it’s normal to turn up to the airport in trackies and a hoodie. Back then, few people knew how to dress for the occasion better than Taylor. She was often seen in perfectly polished tea dresses or long mink coats, giving flying the respect everyone at the time felt it deserved.
She Loved Jewelry More Than Life Itself
Taylor made no secret of her love of jewelry, particularly diamonds. After all, she had eight marriages, which meant eight different engagement rings. Her jewelry was often the central focus of an outfit, such as the Taylor-Burton Diamond that she wore suspended from a Cartier necklace to present the 1970 Oscar for Best Picture.
Her pieces of jewelry are so iconic that many of them have their own Wikipedia pages and are named after her – case in point: the 33-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond and 68-carat Taylor-Burton Diamond. After all, she published a book called Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry in 2002, which really tells you everything you need to know. Perhaps it’s urban legend, but Taylor is often credited with saying, “Big girls need big diamonds.” And she certainly seemed to live by it.
She Was a Muse of Sorts for Andy Warhol
The force of her personality and her stylishness made Taylor the perfect subject for art. Most famously, she was painted multiple times by Andy Warhol, and those portraits became some of the most instantly recognizable examples of both Warhol’s work and the pop art style of the 1960s.