Fancy an original Dynasty dress? Or Alexis Colby’s giant bling ring?
Joan Collins describes herself as a ‘self-confessed hoarder’
A one-off auction will see some of her glamorous pieces go on sale
Some 1,000 items going under the hammer this week in Beverly Hills
Dynasty was the hit show that made Dame Joan Collins the highest-paid TV actress of the 1980s and one of the most famous women in the world.
As wicked Alexis Carrington Colby, with her shoulder pads, big hair and bitchy one-liners, she was the rival baddie to Larry Hagman’s JR in Dallas. As the plotlines grew more and more outrageous and over-the-top so too did her outfits.
There’s now a chance to own one of Alexis’s lavish original sequinned dresses, wide-brimmed hats or fur stoles, because Joan Collins is having a clear-out. As she’s been a film star for 60 years and is a self-confessed ‘hoarder and collector’, it’s turned into quite an event.
Many of the Dynasty gowns were specially made for Joan by top American designer Nolan Miller, who became a close friend, and some of them, along with the glittering jewellery she wore on the show, are among the 1,000 items going under the auctioneer’s hammer this week in Beverly Hills.
They’re going up for sale alongside many of her couture dresses from the 1960s, outfits worn to premieres and to her investitures for her OBE and Damehood, fashions by Versace, Chanel and Valentino, hats by Philip Treacy, jewellery, memorabilia, paintings, furniture and personal items. She’s even selling a pair of love letters sent to her in 1960 by Warren Beatty when he was on National Service.
‘We later became engaged and lived together,’ Joan recalls. ‘All my friends said, “What are you doing with this unknown actor?” I introduced him to everyone in Hollywood and he made Splendour In The Grass while we lived together. I decided to say goodbye to him when I was about to go to London to do The Road To Hong Kong with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope but we remained friends.
One thing she’s not parting with is the engagement ring he gave her, which she still keeps in a safe deposit box.
The reason she’s decided to part with so many treasured memories comes down to a question of space. Even with her four houses – in St Tropez, LA, London and New York – she’s run out of space.
‘When I had my house in Beverly Hills during Dynasty it was overly furnished. I had lots of things from movies there as well. Then I had financial problems because my business manager hadn’t paid my tax for years so I had to sell the house and put everything in storage.’
‘I hadn’t thought about those items in storage until she was asked by Juliens if she wanted to part with anything. The sale comes to about 1,000 pieces, and I still can’t open my cupboards for clothes!’ Joan actually designs many of her clothes herself because she’s not a standard dress size and she’s always keen for her outfits to make the most of her best bits.
The decision to tidy things up comes during a very eventful year. It started in exhilarating fashion with her being made a Dame for her charity work. She was accompanied to the investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in March by her husband Percy Gibson, her son, painter Sacha and daughter Tara (both from her marriage to Tony Newley) she also has a younger daughter, Katy, by ex-husband Ron Kass.
Her sister, the bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, also flew in from Hollywood. In August, Joan received a phone call at her St Tropez summer home that left her devastated. Jackie broke the terrible news that she’d been suffering from breast cancer for six years. She realised there was little hope of her surviving so felt the time was right to tell those close to her.
Jackie died from breast cancer aged 77 on 19 September. Doesn’t it seem strange, though, that she wanted to keep her illness a secret for so long?
As well as the auction, Joan’s also selling her beautiful Los Angeles apartment in the exclusive Sierra Towers building with its outstanding views of West Hollywood. The price? £3.3 million. However she’s not turning her back on the city where she has so many friends from the film business and she’s certainly not downsizing. ‘We’re looking for a larger space to accommodate guests,’ explains Joan’s husband, Percy.
Although now 82, Joan shows no signs of slowing down. She’s been married for 13 years to Percy, who is 32 years her junior. It’s the longest of her five marriages. ‘I left the best until last,’ she says. ‘he’s made me very happy, particularly in the last months when I’ve been unhappy.’
The auction is on Wednesday at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills at 9am PST (5pm in the UK). You can bid online and by phone but must register at juliens.