Elizabeth Taylor's first wedding dress likely to smash £50,000 estimate at auction

But you'll need a 22-inch waist to wear it


  • Taylor wore gown to marry Conrad 'Nicky' Hilton Jnr in 1950

  • Designed by legendary MGM costumier Helen Rose

  • Dress was made by 15 people non-stop over three months

  • Taylor was 18 years old at wedding, but already a veteran actress

  • Christie's auctioning iconic gown on 26 June

  • Original waist measured 20 inches, but it has now been let out to 22 inches

  • Taylor and Hilton divorced eight months after wedding



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The dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor at her first wedding is to be auctioned by Christie's in London, and is expected to fetch up to £50,000.

Taylor wore the iconic gown, made by costume designer Helen Rose, for her 1950 wedding to Conrad 'Nicky' Hilton Jr, when she was just 18 years old.

The original waist measured 20 inches, but it has since been taken out to a slightly more generous 22.

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At this time, 18-year-old Elizabeth was already a veteran actress and celebrated star and was just a year away from her Oscar-nominated performance in the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) 1951 film A Place in the Sun.

The Hollywood 'wedding of weddings' was the social event of the year. MGM boasted that 'more stars than there are in heaven' attended, with the 700 guests representing the A-list of classic Hollywood, including Greer Garson, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Esther Williams and Van Johnson.

Guests also included Taylor's co-stars from Father of the Bride (1950) Spencer Tracy and Joan Bennett, a film which MGM marketed and skillfully scheduled for release mere weeks after the wedding. 

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The beautiful dress was itself a gift from MGM to the teenage bride, and it was so revered that photographs of it have appeared all over the world; from newspapers and tabloids to LIFE magazine.

With its twenty five yards of shell-white satin embellished with bugle beads and seed pearls, trailed by a fifteen-yards of satin train, it is exactly the kind of elegant design for which Helen Rose was known.

The project was so extensive and was such a priority at MGM that more than fifteen people worked full-time for between two and three months straight on it

Everything about this gown was custom-designed with Elizabeth Taylor's voluptuous figure in mind; a built-in corset allowed the dress to be tightly cinched in at the waist and the veil's ten yards of shimmering silk net was carefully considered and attached to a pearl-covered Juliet cap in order to float around the bride.

The project was so extensive and was such a priority at MGM that more than fifteen people worked full-time for between two and three months straight on it.

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Helen Rose was known for always achieving Louis B. Mayer's order to 'just make them look beautiful' and for treating everyone with great respect.

Taylor and Hilton were divorced just eight months after their wedding

She had extremely good relationships with all of her colleagues and clients and often designed their off-screen wardrobes, frequently including their wedding gowns.

Perhaps her most famous was Grace Kelly's when she became the Princess of Monaco, a design that recently inspired the Duchess of Cambridge‟s wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

Few wedding dresses have as deep a historical connection to both film and fashion as this; it‟s an example of a legendary designer and star working together in perfect harmony and the result is something that has made a lasting impact on fashion.

Taylor and Hilton were divorced just eight months after their wedding.