Carrie Bradshaw’s Iconic $5 ‘Sex and the City’ Tutu Sold for More Than $50,000

It's now probably the priciest piece of ballet wear.

The three-tiered tutu worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the Sex in the City opening credits, styled by Patricia Field. Photo courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.

Now likely the most valuable piece of ballet wear, a tutu worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the opening credits of the HBO series Sex and the City (1998–2004) has sold for a whopping $52,000. 

The tiered tulle skirt was part of Julien’s Auctions January 11 sale of iconic womenswear, where it drew 24 bids before selling for more than four times its high estimate of $12,000. 

The show’s costume designer Patricia Field bought the skirt for $5 after pulling it out of a thrift store bin in New York’s garment district. Recalling her purchase years on, she wrote in her memoir Pat in the City: “I thought Sarah Jessica would be able to relate to this crazy skirt because of her background as a ballet dancer.”

Sex and the City tutu at auction

Catalog cover for Julien’s Auction’s “Unstoppable: Signature Styles of Iconic Women in Fashion” sale. Photo courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.

Field styled the “whimsical, adventurous, and unexpected” oyster-white skirt with a pink tank—an ensemble on Parker that would make television and fashion history when it appeared in the opening credits of the TV show. It would also show up in the film, Sex and the City (2008), when Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, pulls it out of her closet and was urged by her friends to hang on to the piece. 

Sex and the City set off many popular style trends and this tutu… was certainly one of, if not the biggest style trend from the show,” Martin Nolan, executive director and co-founder of Julien’s Auctions, told Artnet News. “It was the zeitgeist fashion moment where street style became high-fashion.”

Yves Saint Laurent white cotton day dress, worn by Audrey Hepburn. Photo courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.

The tutu was not the only item to sail past its estimate at the auction. A white Yves Saint Laurent day dress once owned by Audrey Hepburn made $13,000 on a $8,000–$10,000 estimate, while a newspaper-print dress that John Galliano designed for Christian Dior (part of a collection that was also seen on Parker in the hit TV series) sold for $11,700.  

1961 Givenchy ensemble, worn by Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco. Photo courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.

But the auction’s bestsellers were a pair of outfits to do with Hollywood royalty and plain royalty. A lush green Givenchy ensemble, which Grace Kelly wore to a meeting with the Kennedys in 1961, fetched $325,000, exceeding its estimate. Also sold for $325,000 was a black Catherine Walker cocktail dress from the personal collection of Princess Diana, who was such a fan of the British fashion designer she reportedly wore more than 1,000 of her designs. 

 

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