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Marlene Dietrich Auction — Including Her Famous Tux

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but what about the necessity of reinvention —

In the world of Hollywood, one woman knew how to do just that.

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She lived until 90, and for more than half a century, Marlene Dietrich seamlessly revolved from actress to cabaret singer, fashion icon to sex symbol, pushing the boundaries of what was expected in the female form — an all around ingenue whose intrigue still lasts today.

Said the starlet, “I dress for myself. Not for the image, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for men.”

From pantsuits to ties to tuxedos, she maintained a sense of femaleness while donning men’s clothing, which became known as the “Dietrich silhouette,” which was a suit tailored with trimness and inconspicuous hips and bust.

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Dietrich’s signature androgynous look began onscreen with the taboo-crushing scene in her first American movie, ”Morocco,” in which she dons a tux and kisses a woman. Off-screen she perpetuated the androgynous image the scene created, often dressing in men’s clothes.

morocco (1930) Marlene Dietrich Auction

Longtime friend Erich Maria Remarque once said of her in his novel “Arch of Triumph”:

“The cool, bright face that didn’t ask for anything, that simply existed, waiting — it was an empty face, he thought; a face that could change with any wind of expression. One could dream into it anything. It was like a beautiful empty house waiting for carpets and pictures. It had all possibilities — it could become a palace or a brothel.”

As a cabaret singer she toured worldwide, often accompanied by Burt Bacharach who she oft described as her “arranger, accompanist and conductor.”

Few can forget her performance at London’s Café de Paris in 1954. Noël Coward famously introduced Dietrich: “Though we might all enjoy Seeing Helen of Troy As a gay cabaret entertainer, I doubt that she could Be one quarter as good As our lovely, legendary Marlene.”

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Marlene Dietrich Auction

We are proud to be auctioning the personal estate of Marlene Dietrich in our current auction ending May 29th at 5pm.

Here’s some of the top-ticket items from the collection: 

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Men’s Tuxedo — Quintessential Dietrich

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Marlene Dietrich’s own men’s tuxedo. This ensemble dates to the 1970’s-80’s, during which she performed in tuxes in Las Vegas. Lot includes a navy blue double-breasted dinner jacket with black silk lapels, matching trousers and bowtie.

Dietrich’s daughter Maria Riva quotes Dietrich about the scene from ”Morocco” in her memoir about her famous mother, ”…The best part of Morocco is when I am in my own tails…The audience, of course, is expecting the legs – so you see her in trousers first! Good idea? Jo’s of course. He knew how wonderful the top hat and tails would look and… You know for some reason Garbo looks terrible in men’s clothes – which is strange, because everyone says she’s one of ”the girls”. You know what I do in the tails? I go over to a pretty woman at a table and kiss her – on the mouth – then I take the gardenia she is wearing put in under my nose and inhale it. Well…you know how and what I do it…like that. Good? Then I flick the flower to [Gary] Cooper. The audiences go wild. Can you imagine if even Americans get that scene, What will happen one the film opens in Europe?…”

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Queens Theatre Plaque From Her Dressing Room

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Marlene Dietrich personalized plaque that hung on her dressing room as she performed her live ”Marlene Dietrich” show conducted by Burt Bacharach at Queens Theatre from 23 November – 12 December in 1964.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Diamond Necklace

47449_med Marlene Dietrich AuctionMarlene Dietrich’s own sparkling diamond and emerald necklace. Cluster pendant style necklace features a central brilliant cut diamond, wreathed in princess cut emeralds, all surrounded by a ring of small brilliant cut diamonds in a white gold setting. Dates to circa 1930-40. Pendant measures just over 0.5” in diameter on a 16” chain. Housed in original green and white Barney’s New York fabric case. Barely noticeable chip to one of the emeralds.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Emerald and Pearl Ring

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Marlene Dietrich personally owned elegant emerald and pear set cluster ring mounted in gold. Pearls and emeralds mounted in claw settings in a pyramid target style.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Large Aquamarine Solitaire Ring Set in 18k Gold by Tiffany & Co.

47456_med Marlene Dietrich AuctionMarlene Dietrich’s Tiffany aquamarine ring. Giant oval solitaire is set in a four-prong 18k gold setting. Size 8 ring features a 750 stamp and 18k stamp inside. A piece has been added to make the ring smaller but appears simple to remove (not welded to ring).

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Turquoise Brooch

47442_med Marlene Dietrich AuctionMarlene Dietrich own elegant silver and turquoise brooch. Cast in silver and anodised silver with scrolled floral arms emanating from a central stem with turquoise beads claw-set, a seed pearl to top and with center stone missing.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Sunglasses by Iconic French Designer Ted Lapidus

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Marlene Dietrich’s Ted Lapidus sunglasses from the 1960’s. The famous French designer’s name appears on the interior of the right temple, with ”France” on the left temple. Lapidus is known for popularizing blue jeans and unisex fashion, the latter being a trademark of Dietrich’s image. Cream color frames feature gilt accents around oversize lenses.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Rx Sunglasses by Iconic French Designer Ted Lapidus

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Marlene Dietrich’s Ted Lapidus sunglasses from the 1960’s. The famous French designer’s name appears on the interior of the right temple. Lapidus is known for popularizing blue jeans and unisex fashion, the latter being a trademark of Dietrich’s image. Black frames feature gilt accents around oversize prescription lenses.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Mexican 950 Silver Bracelet

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Marlene Dietrich’s silver bracelet. Features thick, hollow spiraling links with bead finials and bar and ring toggle clasp. With 950 silver mark and Mexico stamp.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned & Worn Nightgown

47444_med Marlene Dietrich AuctionMarlene Dietrich’s own nightgown. Full-length nightgown is silky cream color fabric features tan lace trim and cap sleeves. Nightgown ties in the back.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Underwood No. 5 Typewriter

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Marianne Dietrich personally owned Underwood typewriter. Often described as the quintessential antique typewriter, the first of the true typewriters, this ”Number 5” model has a black enameled metal frame with four rows of keys below curved band of keys and rubber paper roll. Keys still work.

Marlene Dietrich Personally Owned Cigarette Box — With 15 of Her Gitanes Mais Brand Cigarettes Still Inside

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Marlene Dietrich personally owned cigarette box stocked with 15 cigarettes. Metal box features an applied floral and butterfly design in a rectangular border on the lid. Hinged lid opens to reveal a gilt interior with built-in sixteen-iteration bed holding 15 filterless cigarettes by French maker Gitanes, in the ”Mais” variety rolled in yellow corn paper. Box on four feet features a Park Sherman maker’s mark.

For the entire list of items, click here.  The Marlene Dietrich auction ends Thursday, May 29th at 5pm.


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