|Posted by Suz King on November 7, 2009 at 1:15 PM|
Interview with Phil Donnelly by Suz King
Locatedonsite at the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Center, the Museum of Style Icons isa permanent exhibition dedicated to design and style excellence. The Museumshowcases artifacts associated with some of the most legendary icons of film andmusic including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Bette Davis, theBeatles, Gloria Swanson, and many more.
In association with Juliens Auctions, the Newbridge Silverware Museum ofStyle is the exclusive Irish Showcase for many of the most notable auctions inthe Entertainment Industry. Previous Auction Highlights include U2, Bob Hopeand collections from the Estate of Marilyn Monroe. With expertise specializingin entertainment memorabilia, Julien's Auctions has quickly establishedthemselves as the premier auction house to the stars, producing high profilecelebrity estates and entertainment auctions. Julien's Auctions presentsexciting, professionally managed and extremely successful auctions with fullcolor high quality auction catalogues unlike any other auction company.Previous auctions include the collections of Cher, Madonna, U2, BarbaraStreisand, Muhammad Ali, Debbie Reynolds, and the estates of Marilyn Monroe,Bob Hope, Mary Pickford and many more.
Tell me aboutNewbridge museum – how did it all start?
Since its official opening to the public on June 1st, the NewbridgeSilverware Museum of Style Icons has welcomed thousands of visitors countrywideto its spectacular showcase. Located onsite at the Newbridge Silverware VisitorCentre, the Museum of Style Icons is a permanent exhibition dedicated to designand style excellence. The Museum features signature pieces from Irelandsmost notable designers and showcases artefacts associated with some of the mostlegendary Stars of the Silverscreen including Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe,Grace Kelly Bette Davis, the Beatles, Gloria Swanson, Barbara Streisand, JulieAndrews, Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor, Gloria Swanson, Jean Simmons, SarahJessica Parker, Barbara Stanwyck and many more.
The current icon present isAudrey Hepburn. What the most precious popular item you have from her career?
Yes. Itwould have to be Audrey Hepburn’s items from “Breakfast At Tiffany's” in theyear 1961.A hot pink cocktail dress worn byAudrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. The knee-length sleeveless dress of hot pinksilk, decorated all over with fan-shaped appliqués accented with smallrhinestones, with matching pink bow to the waist was made for her character inthis film.
Anotherfeatured icon was the screen siren Marilyn Monroe. What items did the museumdisplay from the legendary actress?
“Yesindeed. There was a preview of 150 items from the Californian home of theglamorous movie star went on show here before being auctioned in the United States. We had clothes from the screenlegend's personal and professional wardrobe, furniture from her hacienda-stylehome, memorabilia from her one-time personal secretary and stylist Peter Leonardi, and a pictorial montage depicting thefinal six weeks of her life. The collection was on view to the public from Aprilthe 31st until June 1 -- what would be Monroe's 83rd birthday. Manyof the items from Monroe's Brentwood home, where she died in August 1962,are also quite poignant for me. The last photograph that Marilyn did in herhome was photographed by Allan Grant on July 7 for an article in 'Life' magazine.It went on the newsstands on August 3, and the next day Marilyn died. It's oneof the last shots taken of her. We also had the very last garment which she ispurported to have worn, a white terry cloth robe which was found discarded nextto her body. So in a way the exhibition displayed all area of Marilyn’s lifefrom beginning to end.”
The items were to go on sale bycelebrity auction house Julien's Auctions at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino in Las Vegas in June. What values had been given to Monroe’s items from your museum?
Thestar's pink Pucci dress was valued at $25,000 (€18,318); a fur stole she woreat numerous public engagements was worth around $15,000 (€11,000). So quiteexpensive price tags one could say but the story behind the items were whatgave them their price tag I think not just the fact that they were Marilyn Monroe’sitems. It was also the fact that they were items from film sets, made by famousdesigners, worn for famous photographers or famous events. Another itemincluded an orange Pucci blouse seen in photographs taken by George Barris are among the highlights on show. Fanscan also saw an Andre de Dienes photograph of the actress in 1949 atTobey Beach and the umbrella used in the shoot, valued at $18,000 (€13,200).
Which star is your favourite and why?
For me itwould be again Marilyn Monroe. The letters we had on displayed made Monroe justseem much more like a person we would all like to know than just a film star. Atwo page letter (c.1954) from Gladys Baker to Marilyn Monroe (then NormaDougherty), composed in pencil on tissue pager while institutionalised at theRockhaven Sanitarium in Verdugo, California. In the letter, Marilyn'smother Gladys requests to be among people of her religion - Christian Science.
In partreading (sic); "It is quite some time since I wrote you but I'venot changed in that it is doing no one any good for me to be in here nor is itcausing me to grow in Christian Science. As I told you before all Dr.'s areSycratrists and they heal just the opposite way they do in Christian Science. Iam always bumping up against their manipulation of my mind which I know is notChristian Science.... would you please remove me to a Christian ScienceInstitution...." (This was together with original transmittal envelopedated February 2 1954).
If you could choose an icon to be present here in themuseum, who would it be and why?
Wellbeing a prominent fan of music I would love to see more items from musicianssuch as Elvis or The Beatles. Although we do have Four D.A Millings suits, eachwith a D.A Millings tag noting which Beatle wore each suit. There made ofgray wool and black velvet collar, with blue lining. The Beatles had donatedthe items directly after having used them for the pre-promotion of 'A HardDay`s Night'. We have been looking into retrieving items from Elvis’ time inLas Vegas such as suits he would have worn, jewellery on stage or in photosetc.