Original Dorothy Dress - Wizard of Oz Museum
Remember when Judy Garland wore a gingham pinafore in “The Wizard of Oz”? The Wizard of Oz museum recently acquired a Judy Garlands Dorothy dress, and I decided to share my finding related to the original dresses.
It was a blue and white dress with a fitted bodice and straps fixed at the front and back by two mother-of-pearl buttons.
A pinafore worn over a high-necked cream blouse and sometimes incongruously paired with ruby slippers.
The Dorothy dress is perhaps the most mundane costume in the movie and emphasizes the difference between the girl from Kansas and the world imagined by American author L. Frank Baum.
The MGM’s chief designer Gilbert Adrian (known simply as Adrian), created every costume in the film, from the Scarecrow’s patchwork trousers to the munchkin’s avant-garde coats. He designed several dresses for Dorothy, but this was the style she wore for the whole duration of the film. Earlier, the blue version with polka-dot trim and puffed sleeves was paired briefly with a blond wig, but both were thrown out in favor of a more natural look and eased up on the makeup.
Why were there more than one pair?
It was common studio practice to have multiple pairs of costumes, especially for plot-driving accessories like the Ruby Slippers. If damage occurs during filming, production would have to halt, especially as Dorothy and the other main characters wore their costumes the entire movie.
Dorothy pinafore has reached very high prices, even when made in several copies and variant colors. The original dress sales first appeared in the famous 1970s MGM auction. MGM studio decided to hold a May 1970 auction of props and wardrobe based on the cost-cutting measure. Kent Warner, a costume designer hired to help catalog and prepare for the auction, where Kent found several Dorothy pinafores in the MGM Wardrobe. The first one sold at the 1970 MGM auction for $1000, and a few others he kept for himself.
In 1981 he consigned to Christie’s East one of the classic blue and white gingham pinafores with an off-white blouse, it bore a label with Judy Garland’s name, and the number 4461 sold for $12,000.
At the 1970s MGM auction, the ruby slippers sold for $15,000, worth around 6 million currently, and the Wicked Witch hat at the MGM auction sold for $480, and Debbie Reynolds purchased a test pinafore of all-blue with gingham trim and an off-white blouse.
The market started heating up again when Debbie Reynolds held the first of her two auctions run by Profiles in History on June 18, 2011. She was selling off her collection to pay off the debts of her bankrupt foundation, and the auction had been getting national publicity for months. Additionally, many of the costumes had been on exhibit long before the auction, and thousands took advantage of viewing the collection at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. Among the many treasures from Debbie Reynolds’s collection was one of the test dresses not used in the film that sold for $1,092,000.
Dorothy Dress #1
The first dress sold in 2019 for $1,565,000 and previously sold in 2012 for $480,000. The same dress was auctioned in 1981 by Christie's auction house for $12,000 and sold previously for $1000 at a 1970 MGM auction. The main characteristic of this dress is that it has a blouse and pinafore dress with a secret pocket and has a name tag of Judy Garland with the number 4461 next to it. My assumption since there are five pairs of ruby slippers discovered at the auction, I would assume there were around ten various Dorothy dresses made also.
Dorothy Dress #2
The second dress was used by Judys double (Bobby Koshay) during a transition from black and white, which sold on September 25, 2019, for $750,000. Provenance: Camden House Auctioneers, May 20, 1989, Lot 392.
Dorothy Dress #3
The third dress jumper and blouse worn during the first two weeks of filming under 1st director Richard Thorpe have a different design. Judy Garland's "Dorothy Gale" Jumper and Blouse Worn During the First Two Weeks of Filming Under 1st Director Richard Thorpe, Later Used by Judys Double in the "Flying Monkey" Sequence from the movie. Designed by legendary MGM costume designer Gilbert Adrian, the costume consists of (1) a cornflower blue cotton dress with white polka dot trim at the bodice, neck, straps, and above the hem, with hook and eye and snap back closure. The dress retains two internal bias labels, with one handwritten, "Judy Garland 3955-1," and another written, "Bobby Koshay - Double Harness." She was Garland's double
Dorothy Dress #4
The fourth dress sold on July 28, 2013, for $320,000 and displayed by a bicentennial celebration of The Smithsonian's Freedom Train. The traveling exhibit featured a different aspect of United States history and memorabilia in each of the 12 train cars where the dress was displayed.
Dorothy Dress #5
The fifth dress was purchased by Debie Reynolds at the MGM auction and sold by Profiles in History in 2011 for an astounding sum of $1,092,000
Dorothy Dress #6
Discovered at the Catholic University is the sixth dress. It was supposed to be an auction, but based on the court's decision, it is still at the university. This dress has all the necessary characteristics, such as a hidden pocket, Judy garland tag, and blouse.I also noted that a few jumper dresses sold without a blouse. In the 2015 auction mentioned in the description that there were only two complete Dorothy dresses with blouses surfaced. I assume there a few reproductions were on various museum displays. One that comes to mind is displays on Planet Hollywood in Orlando. I would not think the owner will not take this dress seriously for conservation purposes and display it in a fiberglass mannequin.
Dorothy Dress in the Wizard of Oz Museum #7
The 7th dress was obtained by the Wizard of Oz Museum, based on the provenance purchased at an MGM auction and sold in the early 1990s to a private collector. The collector parted with this dress in December 2022. The dress has all the characteristics of the original dress. It has a hidden pocket and the name of Judy Garland on the tag with the number 4461-1. It is handwritten on the jumper Judy Garland 4461-1, and inside the dress, there is also a stamp 169L. The same stamp number is also in the dress discovered at Catholic university and Judy Garland 4461-1 inside the jumper. It is also written in the jumper Judy Garland 4461-1. Inside the dress, there is also a stamp 169L. Visitors can view or take a photo of the original dress, and the Wizard of Oz Museum presents this unique opportunity.