The 1953 "How To Marry A Millionaire" Lauren Bacall Worn Suit

The 1953 film "How to Marry a Millionaire" featured the mega-star line up of Betty Grable  Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall. William Travilla designed the bulk of the costumes for the film and they have become some of the most iconic looks on film. In the film Lauren wears this suit all through the beginning of the film. This is the actual suit made and worn in the film and to the best of my knowledge it was the only one made. It was purchased by a private Hollywood collector in the 1970s and was held in storage until it was recently purchased and made available for sale and I have now been asked to handle that sale. It is wonderful to have such an iconic piece of film history in the shop and the mind boggling to have a piece actually worn by Lauren in one of the most iconic of films.

The best description of the suit is perhaps found by watching the film and seeing it move on Lauren. It is cut to be fitted with a seamed bodice that follows the curves of the bust and a nipped in waist created by precise vertical and angled seams. The hips flare out and you can feel the stiffening material used in the inner construction so the suit would hold its shape no matter how Lauren moved during the scenes. The front closes with three buttons. The lining is silk and hand set. The skirt is very unusual and wraps to close with the open wrap at the back. This unusual skirt treatment is one if the strongest identifiers of the suit outside of inner studio/costume label.  There are alterations done the waist and these are original - this would have been common on set to accommodate the star as she perhaps changed sizes during filming. I have been told that she wore this after the film as well for some of the press so the alterations could have been done the. It is in excellent condition otherwise and a remarkable piece of Hollywood memorabilia.

The jacket is fully lined in a grey silk and the skirt unlined. The skirt closes with a row of buttons offset to one side at back and wraps to close. The jacket closes with the buttons at the front as seen. The costume department tag identifying it from the film as as Luaren's costume is found in the inner part of the skirt. The jacket shows the slightest of dusting across the shoulders which a clean would rectify if this bothered you. I have not cleaned this because of the value and provenance as most collectors prefer items like this in their original state. so I was respectful of that. There are light perspiration marked under the arms on the interior silk that do not show on the exterior. The area where the inner sleeve lining is attached has some small areas where the stitches have come undone. Again this has all been left as found. The skirt has an extension at the waist that was told to me to be original and also left as found. Stitches at the inner front skirt to denote that it was the front - many hand done garments and couture items had this detail during this time frame. Serge finished seams in the skirt, hand set lining in the jacket and hand finishes throughout.

Sleeves: 21.5"
Shoulders: 15.5"
Bust: 18.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Waist: 14.5" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 26" from neck to hem

Waist: 13" flat across from side seam to side seam
Hips: 18" flat across from side seam to side seam
Length: 32" from waist to hem

Modern Sizing Equivalent: SML-MED

Item# DD2619

Reference Photos: Lauren Bacall in "How To Marry A Millionaire", 1953.
Watch the film in it's entirety below!

This garment has been professionally cleaned, pressed and is odor free. Thoroughly checked over before shipping, it will be ready to wear upon arrival.

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