Dorothy Wizard of Oz Test Dress

dorothyoztestdressThe Bonham’s TCM Presents … There’s No Place Like Hollywood auction on November 24th in New York is creating a lot of exciting buzz here at WCN. Another one of the star items is a Dorothy “test” dress and pinafore from The Wizard of Oz. We have featured a number articles on Dorothy’s clothing over the years including dresses and of course the ruby slippers.  This little number has an estimate of US$ 200,000 – 300,000 (£130,000 – 190,000).

A Dorothy “test” dress and pinafore from The Wizard of Oz Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1939

dorothyoztestdressjudyComprising a cornflower blue cotton dress with a cream-colored bodice and sleeves, a high neckline, and blue rickrack trim at the collar, shoulders and sleeves, bearing a label inscribed in black ink, “Judy Garland / 4208,” and an MGM cleaning tag; and a blue-and-white gingham pinafore with blue rickrack trim at the neckline, shoulders, and pockets, bearing a label inscribed in black ink, “Judy Garland / 4461,” and an MGM cleaning tag. Accompanied by two wardrobe test photographs dated October 31, 1938 of Garland wearing this dress, one black-and-white of her wearing the dress and the pinafore, and one color photo of her wearing the dress alone.

This costume was designed during the brief tenure of George Cukor on The Wizard of Oz, after the departure of original director Richard Thorpe. Thorpe began work on the film on October 12 and was fired twelve days later, due to producer Mervyn LeRoy and the MGM executives’ dissatisfaction with the look of the early rushes. LeRoy brought in Cukor to review Thorpe’s work and direct a few days of test shoots. Though his time on the film was brief, Cukor had a dramatic impact on the look of The Wizard of Oz. He took away Judy Garland’s blonde wig and artificial-looking makeup and simplified her costume, emphasizing the characterization of Dorothy as a typical American teenager from a farm in Kansas. Ray Bolger and Margaret Hamilton’s makeup was also redesigned during this period. After these new tests were complete, Cukor departed again and Victor Fleming arrived to direct the film. October 31 was Cukor’s last day on The Wizard of Oz. The final costume worn by Judy Garland is a combination of these two garments, taking the style of the dress and adding the gingham pattern of the pinafore.

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