Big-screen auction for costume drama fans

By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent

12:01AM GMT 29 Jan 2007

You have seen the movie, bought the DVD and now it's your chance to dress the part.

Britain's largest theatrical costumiers, Angels, has announced it is to hold what it is describing as the world's biggest auction of film and television outfits.

Star items among 360 lots will be the Jedi cloak worn by Sir Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars (estimate: £50,000), suits worn by Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore in 007 films and coats and dresses and slips worn by Madonna in the big-screen adaptation of Evita. A grey linen overcoat, worn by Gary Oldman playing Sirius Black in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is expected to fetch £4,000. For the very thin, two costumes — a snake-effect Lycra dress and a sequin catsuit that dressed Mrs David Beckham, once humbly known as Victoria Adams, in the 1997 film Spice World seem a snip at £500 each.However, the highest reserve price, £10,000, is for a grey three-piece Italian Brioni suit worn by Brosnan in his first Bond film, GoldenEye.

Bonhams, the auctioneers selling the outfits, has promised to turn its sale room into a "stars' dressing room" before the sale so that would-be buyers can check sizes and their appearance in the mirror before bidding. Other costumes come from films such as Titanic, Elizabeth, Braveheart and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Sir Alec Guinness's brown hooded cloak went missing for 30 years and was only discovered in 2005 when Angels made an inventory of its 1.5 million outfits which hang on six miles of rails in a warehouse in north London.

Tim Angel, the chairman of the company, said: "Such iconic costumes become so famous and so firmly associated with key movies that they can never be used in other films. Nor can they be made available from our fancy dress shop — for obvious reasons."

The auction, in March, is expected to raise more than £1 million.


The Angels Star Collection, UK’s largest film & television costumes at Bonhams

A remarkable collection of costumes created and supplied by Angels The Costumiers, for some of the most iconic international film and television in history sold at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, today (Tuesday 6 March 2007), in what is believed to be the UK’s largest and most important archive of film and television costumes to come to auction. More than 400 costumes were available to collectors and amateur fans alike.

In a jam-packed saleroom, bids were relayed to the auctioneers of the day, Pippa Stockdale and Jon Baddeley. Ownership of Obi Wan Kenobi’s cloak was battled for by two telephone bidders. Four enthusiasts for Doctor Who fought a bidding war for related TV costumes. Items throughout the sale fetched between eight to 20 times their estimates. Costumes from James Bond, Monty Python, Braveheart, Only Fools and Horses, Four Weddings and a Funeral also proved very popular with the bidders.

Jon Baddeley, Group Head of Collector’s Department at Bonhams, comments: “We are delighted at the results of this sale. There has been a tremendous international interest in what is normally considered to be British cult television and film which is very exciting to see.”

Tim Angel, Chairman Of Angels, comments: “We are delighted at the success of today’s Bonhams sale of Angels costumes. We always intended for this sale to appeal to both the big international collectors of memorabilia and also to members of the general public keen to get their hands on a piece of movie history, and we are pleased that today has seen our wishes fulfilled and established that there is a clear market for such memorabilia. We will be giving serious consideration to another search of the Angels archive in the near future.

Tim Angel, Chairman of Angels, and fifth generation of the family firm comments further, “The joy of being in this business is that you know you are creating something that will help an audience immerse itself in a different world. Our costumes are famous for fulfilling the exact requirements and needs of the film, and are researched and tailored to the highest standard. Whether it is the cloak of a Jedi knight from a galaxy far, far away, or the most elegant suit worn by Her Majesty’s best secret agent, our job is done if the audience are convinced by the authenticity and effectiveness of the costumes shown on the screen. The flip-side of creating such iconic costumes, that become so very famous and so firmly associated with key movies, is that they can never be used in other films or productions, nor can they be made available from our fancy dress shop…for obvious reasons! With over a century and a half’s worth of costumes on the racks, each with ever increasing insurance requirements, and space at a premium, it seemed the right time for us to allow collectors and fans the chance to take home a piece of the movie magic.” 



Angels, founded in 1840, is the world’s longest-established supplier of costumes to the film, theatre and television industry. Angels shop became popular with theatre actors who, at that time, had to purchase their own clothes and costumes for auditions and performances. It was Morris Angel, the company’s founder, who allowed actors to hire, rather than buy their outfits – the first man to make such an innovation. With the advent of cinema, the Angel family made their second major diversification by supplying costumes to the fledgling movie industry and, through primary company Angels The Costumiers, has continued to be a quiet and constant success story within the British (and international) film industry. Since 1946, when costumes supplied by Angels received an Academy Award for Laurence Olivier’s Henry V, Angels The Costumiers has supplied costumes to a further 26 movies that have won Oscar, for ‘Outstanding Achievement In Costume Design’ for work undertaken on major international films including Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, Titanic, Gladiator and most recently Memoirs of a Geisha. At this year’s Academy Awards, Angels costumes are in the running again for costumes supplied for Marie Antoinette and The Queen. Angels The Costumiers is based in Hendon, and boasts a warehouse containing over a million and a half costumes on five miles of hanging rails.   


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Bonhams Lot 252: Madonna Evita, 1996.  Costume for actress Madonna as Evita Peron.

Madonna from Evita, 1996
A black silk patterned dress, mint coloured slip and peach coloured slip, the dress with floral pattern, with black skirt detail to side, labelled inside "Angels & Bermans", the peach coloured satin slip with embroidered floral detail to neckline and the green coloured satin slip with cream coloured lace to hem and neckline


  • Madonna played Eva Peron
    Costume Designer, Penny Rose

A bit more info.Evita is a 1996 musical drama film based on Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name about Eva Peron. It was directed by Alan Parker and written by Parker and Oliver Stone. It starred Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce. The film was released on December 25, 1996. 


Bonhams Lot 17: Dr Who, 2005. Costume for actor Simon Paisley Day as 'The Crespallion Steward'.  

Dr. Who, 2005

The two piece costume comprising jacket and trousers, being of brown and black coloured brocade, the trousers with elasticated braces, labelled inside "Angels The Costumiers", inscribed "Bruce Payne Feb 2000"


  • Simon Day played The Steward
    Costume Designer, Lucinda Wright
    Used previously by Bruce Payne in Dungeons and Dragons 2000.

A bit more info. The Crespallion steward was created by director Euros Lyn and writer Russell T. DaviesThe character was credited in "The End of the World" only as steward. Actor Simon Paisley Day also played Commander Randy Navarro in the "Holoship" episode of the TV series Red Dwarf.


Bonhams Lot 355: Colony Coat Alien 3 Costume for actors cast as Colonists. 

Alien 3, 1992
A full length colony coat,
of heavy brown canvas, with extensive applied wax and dirt detail, having eyelet and tie fastenings and wooden toggles to sleeves and pockets, inscribed inside "Sailor 2"


  • Costume Designers, David Perry and Bob Ringwood.


Bonhams Lot 243: Tommy Steele Half A Sixpence, 1967. Costume for actor Tommy Steele as Arthur Kipps. 

Tommy Steele from Half a Sixpence, 1967
A two piece suit,
of cream and blue pinstripe wool, labelled inside "N Berman Ltd, 18 Irving St, Leicester Sq WC2" inscribed "Tommy Steele"


  • Tommy Steele played Arthur Kipps
    Costume Designers, Joan Bridge and Elizabeth Haffenden.

  • A bit more info. Half a Sixpence is a 1967 Britis Musical Film directed by George Sidney and choreographed by Gillian Lynne. The screenplay by Beverley Cross is adapted from his book for the stage musical of the same name, which was based on Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul a 1905 novel by H. G. Wells. The music and lyrics are by David Heneker.


Bonhams Lot 21: Catherine Zeta Jones. Darling Buds of May 1991-1993 A costume for actress Catherine Zeta Jones as 'Mariette'.

Catherine Zeta Jones from Darling Buds of May 1991-1993
A yellow polka dot two piece suit and cardigan. The two piece suit, with full length skirt, labelled "Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St., London, NW1" stamped "MARIETTE", the cream coloured cardigan with floral motif, labelled "Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St., London, NW1", stamped "CATHERINE ZETA JONES DARLING BUDS OF MAY"


  • The Darling Buds of May 1991 - 1993- Catherine Zeta Jones played Mariette
    Costume Designers, Brian Castle and Janice Marsden.

  • A bit more info. The Darling Buds of May is a British Comedy Drama first broadcast between 7 April 1991 and 4 April 1993. It is an adaptation of H.E.Bates'' novel The Darling Buds of May, published in 1958, and its sequels.

    It was produced by Yorkshire Television for the ITV network. It is set in an idyllic rural 1950s Kent, among a large, boisterous family, the Larkins. Yorkshire TV called it a drama but audiences and critics have generally considered it a comedy. Catherine played the eldest daughter of the Larkins.

    A lovely retro piece for a size 10/12 girlie!


Bonhams Lot 357: The Fifth Element, 1997.  Collection of Cast Costumes

The Fifth Element, 1997
A collection of cast outfits, comprising: a red and white patterned bikini top and sarong type skirt, of cotton lycra, inscribed inside "Lainshan Yip", a burgundy coloured shirt with "INPUT OUTPUT patches to back, inscribed inside "JON CLARK", a Hawaiian style red half grass skirt with a Hawaiian Lei (floral garland) and a green shirt with "INPUT OUTPUT patches to back


  • Costume Designer, Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier is a French Haute Couture and Pret-a-Porter fashion designer. Gaultier was the creative director of Hermès  from 2003 to 2010.

A bit more info. The Fifth Element (FrenchLe Cinquième Élément) is a 1997 English-language French science fiction film directed, co-written, and based on a story by Luc Besson. The film stars Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman and Milla Jovovich Mostly set during the twenty-third century, the film's central plot involves the survival of planet Earth, which becomes the duty of Korben Dallas (Willis), a taxicab driver and former special forces major, when a young woman (Jovovich) falls into his taxicab. 


Bonhams Lot 66: Richard Attenborough. Costume for the actor Richard Attenborough from an unknown production.

A military style tunic.

Of khaki coloured wool, with brass buttons, labelled "M Berman Ltd, 18 Irving St, Leicester Sq, WC2" inscribed "Richard Attenborough 7757"

A bit more info. Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough CBE (29 August 1923 -24 August 2014) is an English actor, film director, producer and entrepreneur. He is the President of the (RADA).

As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Ghandi in 1983. He has also won four BAFTA AWARDS and three Golden Globe Awards. As an actor he is perhaps best known for his roles in Brighton Rock, The Great escape. 10 Rillington Place, Miracle on 34th Street, and Jurassic Park. 


Bonhams Lot 92: Billy Connolly. Costume for actor/comedian Billy Connolly from an unknown production, dated 2000.

A morning suit.

Of grey wool with satin edged collar with satin lining, labelled inside "Angels The Costumiers" inscribed "Billy Connolly Sept 2000 2"


  • Possibly from Timeline 2003.

  • A bit more info. William "Billy" Connolly, CBE (born 24 November 1942) is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname "The Big Yin" ("The Big One").


Bonhams Lot 19: Benny Hill. Beret for comedian Benny Hill.
Benny Hill
A beret, of black wool, labelled "Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St, London NW1" stamped "Benny Hill 16428 Benny Hill Show"


  • Benny Hill was Britains risque seaside postcard comedian. The Benny Hill Show ran from 1955 to 1989.


A bit more info. Hill had struggled on stage and had uneven success in radio. But in television he found a form that played to his strengths, allowing him a format that included live comedy and filmed segments, with him at the focus of almost every segment. It was to prove one of the great success stories of television comedy, keeping Hill a star for nearly four decades, generating impressive revenues for Thames TV, and remaining a cult series in much of the world long after Hill's death. The show had a music hall-derived format and its humour relied on slapstick, innuendo and parody.


This is not the beret offered for sale with a set of spectacles in 2009 


Bonhams Lot 84: Michael Caine from The Whistleblower, 1986. . 
Michael Caine from The Whistleblower 1986
A brown and tan checked two-piece suit,with satin effect lining labelled inside "Bermans & Nathans, 40 Camden St., London, NW1" stamped "MICHAEL CAINE 03948 THE WHISTLE BLOWER"


  • Michael Caine played Frank Jones
    Costume Designer, Raymond Hughes.

  • A bit more info. The Whistle Blower is a 1986 British spy thriller film, starring Michael Caine, based on the novel of the same name by John Hale. It was directed by Simon Langton the son of actor David Langton, who co-stars in the film.



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