From the suit worn by Gene Kelly in Singin’ In The Rain to Rudolph Valentino’s number, which he wore as Juan Gallardo in the 1922 film Blood And Sand
If you’re anything like us you likely while away hours fawning over Harry Styles’ splendid Gucci suits, Leonardo Dicaprio’s one-of-a-kind Armani dinner suits and simply wish you could own one of Daniel Craig’s custom-made Tom Ford three-pieces, which he slips on like cellophane for the 007 films.
There are people out there who have taken the obsession a step further by actually purchasing their favourite celebrity’s tailored-to-fit numbers. From the ivory suit worn by John Travolta in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever to Gene Kelly’s Walter Plunkett-designed, single-breasted grey two-piece in Singin’ In The Rain, a handful of the most famous suits in history have been raking in the big bucks at auctions across the world.
The Savile Row Company, which does its own tailor-made suits, as well as made-to-measure dress shirts, has unveiled a list of the ten celebrity-owned suits that have fetched the most money, and you can read it below.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s kurta
Modi wore this collarless navy blue kurta suit in 2015 to meet then-president of the United States, Barack Obama. The suit was made by Jade Blue, an Ahmedabad-based garments chain, and features an all-over pinstripe design, which upon closer inspection intricately spells out the president’s name. It was bought at auction in 2016 by diamond baron and private airline owner Laljibhai Patel for a staggering £508,904.09 – landing it in the Guinness Book Of Records. All proceeds went to the Namaami Gange Trust Fund, an initiative of the Modi cabinet. Today the suit is on display in the reception of Patel’s company, Dharmanandan Diamonds.
The Beatles’ Douglas Millings suits
In 2008, four suits worn by The Beatles during pre-promotion of A Hard Day’s Night, which was the band’s first feature film and was released at the very height of Beatlemania, were sold at a Bonhams auction for £110,187.75. Designed by London-based tailor Doug Millings, who made more than 500 outfits for the band during the peak of their popularity and worked out of his store on Soho’s Old Compton Street, the wool-blend grey suits featured black velvet collars and blue silk linings. What’s more, each included Millings’ product tag, noting which Beatle wore which suit. Now that’s what we call memorabilia.
John Travolta’s suit from Saturday Night Fever
In 1979, the ivory three-piece suit worn by John Travolta in 1977’s Saturday Night Fever was bought in a charity auction for £1,440 by film critic Gene Siskel. After Gene’s passing in 1995, the suit was again sold at an auction for a whopping £106,821.01. In 2012, the V&A announced that it was putting on a Hollywood costume exhibition and the anonymous bidder of the flashy number allowed the museum to put the suit on display for the public to view for the first time. Today it is back with said bidder.
Gene Kelly’s suit from Singin’ In The Rain
While the film may be best known for one singularly iconic prop, it was Gene Kelly’s water-drenched grey wool suit that made the big bucks went it went to auction in 2013. After years of being deemed lost, the suit resurfaced in Northern California after retired postal worker and memorabilia collector Gerald Sola took it to Heritage Auctions’ San Francisco offices. Sola had purchased the suit at one of MGM’s lot sales in 1970 for just $10. It was custom-made for Kelly by Walter Plunkett and fetched £65,000, with its new owner being Robert Earl, who founded the restaurant chain Planet Hollywood. The suit still has water stains inside from where Kelly was repeatedly soaked during takes.
Rudolph Valentino’s suit from Blood And Sand
American costume designer Travis Banton, who was best-known for dressing Marlene Dietrich, was also behind the matador costume worn by Italian actor Rudolph Valentino (who bore no relation to the luxury fashion house) for his role as Juan Gallardo in the 1922 silent film Blood And Sand. The suit consisted of a jacket and cropped trousers decorated with intricate silver bullion and red-faceted jewels and sequins, as well as a highly detailed, beaded silver fringe. The suit sold to an anonymous buyer at an auction in 2015 for £37,589.25.
John Lennon’s Douglas Millings suit
Custom-made for John Lennon, this slim-fitting, single-breasted, grey and black houndstooth wool suit sold for £31,424.46 in 2017. Again designed by The Beatles’ go-to tailor, Douglas Millings, the narrow-lapelled suit, worn by Lennon throughout the 1960s, has “John” handwritten twice on the breast pocket and underneath the trouser zip.
The Duke Of Windsor’s Rothesay hunting tartan suit
Instantly recognisable (and not just for people who binge-watched The Crown during lockdown) the Duke Of Windsor’s Rothesay hunting tartan suit is as famous as the Queen’s collection of natty, silk headscarves. The single-breasted wool suit was constructed in a forest green, dark red and pale yellow tartan and features a shawl collar, a piqué bib monogrammed with a “W” and a crown, a deep green silk cummerbund and a pair of flat-front trousers. Regularly worn by the former king, for post-shooting tea or to a dinner at the Château De La Croë in Antibes, it was originally made for George V, who left it to his son. In 2017 it sold at auction for £29,825.45.
Daniel Craig’s suit from Spectre
A white dinner suit is as synonymous with James Bond as the Martini he quenches his thirst with. A Tom Ford-designed version of the secret agent’s go-to two-piece was worn by Daniel Craig in Spectre during a fight scene set in Morocco, as well as in promo shots for the movie. The single-breasted cream jacket was cut from silk and features a signature Tom Ford label on the neck and the words “Daniel Craig, Bond 24” embroidered inside. It sold at auction in 2019 for £27,500 to an anonymous buyer.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Golden Globes suit
While this list is made up of suits worn predominately by men, the one Phoebe Waller-Bridge slipped into for the 2020 Golden Globes also makes it. After the awards the Fleabag writer sold the custom-made single-breasted Ralph & Russo dinner suit on eBay for £21,000. All proceeds went to three charities in the wake of the Australian wildfires. Waller-Bridge hand-signed the inside of the suit, which naturally added to its allure.
Orson Welles’ suit from Citizen Kane
Original posted at www.gq-magazine.co.uk