Somewhere Over My Price Range…

The blue and white gingham dress worn by 17 year old Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz in 1939, sold for U.S. $480,000 this past weekend. It had been in storage since 2005 when it was sold in London for less than half that amount. Adrian, the designer of the iconic gingham jumper (or pinafore if you are English), reportedly made ten identical examples for the star and stand-in to wear, but the one that just sold is the only one to appear in the film. Adrian reportedly told his seamstresses to use a cheap cotton gingham because he wanted it to look like yardage Auntie Em would buy from the local general store. To add to the authenticity, the dress was apparently sewn at MGM on a treadle sewing machine brought in by one of the seamstresses. The colours in the dress seem grey in comparison to how it appears on film, but the film was shot in three strip technicolour film, which produces a high resolution and saturated colour. There may also be some overall even fading due to a shift in the colour caused by the chemical deterioration of the blue dye.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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2 Responses to Somewhere Over My Price Range…

  1. Liza D. says:

    Just yesterday I was just explaining to my daughter what a “pinafore” is. I’m a Native New Yorker living in Atlanta, and I don’t think I’d call that a jumper, although the term is vaguely familiar (beyond being what the Brits call a “sweater”).

    If I’m going to spend enough to buy a rather nice house on a dress, I think I’d go for the Marilyn Monroe subway grate number, over the prairie pinafore. How about you?

    My dad came home from work one day to say he nearly stopped into an auction to bid on a pair of the Ruby Slippers in the mid-70s, but didn’t for some reason. They were very inexpensive at the time… went for maybe a few hundred dollars. Really wish he’d done it!

    • Jonathan says:

      You could buy several nice houses with the proceeds from the the ruby slippers! Oh to only go back in time… I can’t say I “get” the price for the blue dress which I thought Americans would call a jumper (my understanding is that a jumper is a dress that requires a blouse or sweater to be worn underneath because its essentially an apron – is that not right?)

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