Following on from our earlier blog, congratulations to today’s lucky winning bidders in the Passion For Fashion auction…
The photos below were kindly supplied by Paddy Moore, who attended the viewing yesterday at Kerry Taylor Auctions.
The Catsuit – Sold for £4600
A fabulous stage ensemble by Douglas Darnell comprising: a sleeveless Catsuit of natural coloured chiffon applied with lace, lavishly embellished with Swarovski aquamarine, topaz and aurora borealis crystals, turquoise teardrop beads, imitation pearls and vari-shaped and coloured sequins, the lower legs additionally encrusted with beads and sequins in an exotic floral pattern, lined in gold silk tissue; a matching short-sleeved coat-dress, the corresponding ornate bodice attached to a full skirt of layered sparkling eau-de-nil voile piped with gold silk tissue; a voluminous turquoise stage coat, densely embroidered with translucent iridescent sequins and trimmed at the cuffs, hem and flowing train with a deep border of turquoise ostrich feathers, lined in gold silk tissue. Weight of catsuit and coat-dress: approx. 3.5kg.
This catsuit was worn by Dame Shirley on many occasions throughout her career, in 2003 she told Christie’s how much she loved the outfit and it fetched £6000. The legs were originally flared and the hems trimmed with turquoise ostrich feathers. These were removed by Darnell some time later and the trouser legs were straightened, the corresponding coat was designed at the time of the trouser leg alterations.
Images above from The Tom Jones show, 1971.
White Harem Dress – Sold for £3000
A stunning cut-out stage gown by Douglas Darnell of white velvet spotted devoré scattered with Swarovski aurora borealis crystals and large mirror sequins, the bra top, narrow straps and central cross bands decorated with rows of tiny clear beads and a row of aurora borealis crystals, the bias cut skirt with flowing train.
The dress sold for £4500 in 2003. Dame Shirley and Douglas Darnell had fond memories of this cut-out gown (and its partner in black) when interviewed by Christie’s…
DD: This was one of mine..
DSB: …these were the first cut-outs…which everybody’s doing
now…it’s a harem dress…a belly dancer dress
DD: This was worn at the Prince of Wales [Theatre]…and I was
late as usual…the traffic was unbelievable…and I got out in the
middle of Regent Street and ran with this dress over my arm
CW: So this was the first time that Dame Shirley was to wear the dress? DSB: Yes!…There he was running through the streets of London with the dress over his arm.
DD:…We got there…and got through [to the dressing room] and
she couldn’t get in [to the dress]…so I put my hands up inside [the gown] and clawed her bottom down into it..by which time she looked as though she’d been got at by a tiger [all laugh]
DSB:…the panic my God!
DD: …the nail marks down the cheeks of her bum [lots of laughter]
DSB: I think that’s a book in itself…the stories of how to get into these gowns!
CW: When you’re waiting there for the dress to arrive in the dressing room moments before you go on…do you ever think…am I going to have anything to wear?
DSB: He always makes me panic…he turns up 15 minutes before I’m going on.
DD: It’s all cut on the bias..it will go on…[when she’s on stage] this [dress] will reflect like the balls you get in ballrooms…I fitted you for this in Stockholm…I mean where else would you go to do a fitting!
Image above taken while on tour in Italy, 1968.