MS DRESSES ON DISPLAY;ZOOM OUT FROM 1969 PHOTO OF ELIZABETH TAYLOR; CLOSE UP LIZ TAYLOR DRESS; MS PEOPLE TAKING PHONE BIDS; MS AUCTIONEER STRIKING FINAL PRICE; CU PHOTOS ON WALL, PULL OUT TO WS AUCTION ROOM; MS MADONNA'S DRESS; WS BIDDERS UNDER PHOTO OF MADONNA AT OSCARS; FILE MADONNA AT OSCARS; FILE KATE WINSLET AT OSCARS; MS KATE WINSLET DRESS; MS AUCTIONEER GIVING FINAL PRICE; SOT CATHERINE LIPPINCOTT, SPOKESWOMAN, LANE BRYANT; WS AMERICAN EXPRESS CARD DRESS; TILT UP DRESS; WS AUCTION ROOM
NOW'S THE TIME TO SNAP UP THAT LITTLE VERSACE NUMBER FOR OSCAR NIGHT
Just days before the American Academy Awards, Christie's in New York auctioned off 54 dresses, evening gowns and ensembles worn by famous actresses at earlier Oscars.
The charity auction raised nearly 800 thousand dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS research.
The highest price - 167-thousand-500 dollars - was fetched by Elizabeth Taylor's dress, worn at the 1969 Academy Awards and designed by Edith Head.
The Academy Awards, affectionately known as the Oscars, have become synonymous with glamour and each ceremony is now renowned for presenting the pinnacle of the year's fashion.
Christie's auction house in New York decided to use this pseudo fashion event to host a charity auction called "Unforgettable: Fashion of the Oscars" to benefit the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).
The gala event presented a stunning selection of 54 of the most beautiful -- and sometimes the most outrageous -- dresses worn to the Academy Awards by some of the most distinguished actresses.
The highest price was fetched by a periwinkle blue and violet faille crepe evening dress designed by Edith Head and worn by Elizabeth Taylor in 1969.
A dress by Madonna brought the second highest price, at nearly 80 thousand dollars.
The third highest price was paid for a dress worn by Kate Winslet, nominated for best supporting actress in Titanic.
Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Glenn Close and Sharon Stone were just some of the Academy Award winners, nominees, presenter and guests who opened their closets and donated their Oscar couture gowns to help amfAR's work in AIDS research.
After rigorous bidding, Mattel Inc. bought the dress for over 150 thousand dollars, but not without stiff competition from A-M-C, American Movie Classics.
Madonna's black silk faille and dove-grey tulle evening ensemble, designed by Olivier Theyskens and Jean Paul Gaultier brought in the second highest price of the evening, just shy of 80 thousand dollars.
The dress worn by Kate Winslet, nominated for best supporting actress in 1997 for her role in "Titanic," brought in the third highest price of 57-thousand-500 dollars.
Designed by Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, the forest green silk crepe marocain and duchesse silk satin evening ensemble was bought by American Movie Classics.
Almost immediately after appearing in the dress, Winslet was dubbed a "Hollywood heavyweight, " implying she was fat by the industry's standards.
For this reason, Lane Bryant, the largest plus-size retailer in the U-S had high hopes for acquiring the dress, in order to make a statement about what it calls "the outrageous standards set for women's bodies at the end of the 20th century. "
Other highlights of the auction included a dress made of 171 gold American Express credit cards, worn by Lizzy Gardiner at the 1994 Academy Awards.
Ms. Gardiner won an Oscar for Best Costume Design with Tim Chappel, for the "Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."
The oldest dress sold at auction was originally worn by Janet Leigh in 1959.
The silver beaded dress was designed by Edith Head and sold for 30 thousand dollars.
The world auction record for a dress is 222-thousand-500 dollars, paid for a dress worn by the late Princess Diana.