Elizabeth Taylor’s cowboy boots auctioned off

How many of you know that Elizabeth Taylor collected and wore cowboy boots? I knew it because when I visited Lee Miller’s shop in Austin several years ago (and I’m near the top of his waiting list by now!), I saw a pair he’d made for her, which were returned for some reason.

Christie’s finished auctioning off her estate yesterday (you can find the boots and everything else here), and by chance I found the boots that were sold. The prices were of course high; here’s one example:

Picture 1As a November article in Forbes about her clothing noted:

Here a series of rooms, formerly, I suppose, a guest suite, had become one vast dressing-room carpeted in her favourite lilac. All it lacked was the star on the door. In this eyrie, Taylor kept the clothes she had chosen, worn out in public and laid aside for another day. Her handbags were swathed in tissue paper or in specially made bags and stacked neatly by colour. So were her shoes and the more than 30 pairs of cowboy boots, of which more later. . .

The 1980s and early 1990s represented Taylor’s rock chick moment, and coincided with the Milan period in her wardrobe. Leather, jeans and cowboy boots looked good on the back of Malcolm Forbes’s motorbike (the publisher of Forbes magazine was a close friend).

Here’s another pair, the well-known “Killaz” from Liberty boots (an off-the-rack but good brand), with sterling silver skulls:

Picture 2

And here’s a small photo of Taylor on the back of Malcolm Forbes’s bike, wearing a brown pair. This is from another article in the magazine by Moira Forbes, Malcolm’s granddaughter:

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My verdict on her taste? Not bad, but with her dough she could have afforded better boots, and in fact should have had only custom boots.

From a 2009 interview in Stylelist:

StyleList: Are there any particular clothing items you think all women should own?

Taylor: Lingerie is so important, and I need jewelry more than clothes. I think every woman should own something that makes her feel sexy, as well as something that makes her feel happy. I love beautiful scarves… jackets…a great pair of blue jeans. Hats are always fun. My cowboy boots at the moment are bringing me a lot of pleasure. I think every woman has to decide for herself what truly turns her on.

Perhaps she developed a taste for boots while filming the movie Giant (1956), set largely in Texas. Here she is with director George Stevens (James Dean and Rock Hudson were also in the movie), wearing boots.  Stevens was given an Oscar for best director, and the movie, which is great, garnered eight other Academy Award nominations.

Picture 1

Here’s the infirm Taylor in her later years, wearing the Killaz (photo and gratuitous inscription from Perez Hilton’s site). Geez, were I a woman with her shoe size, I would gladly have anted up $3,360 to have boots that she wore:

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I was hoping she’d be an atheist, so I could further tout cowboy boots as The Official Atheist Footwear™ (after all, Pinkah wears them), but it turns out she converted to Judaism in 1957. Well, close enough.

15 Comments

  1. Posted December 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Well, Liz was an avid equestrian, so I would guess that her early choices in boots would have been of a utilitarian bent, quite unlike the ones on her in the wheelchair.

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like she liked a lot of accessories. I find too that I like scarves, gloves, tights, jackets. I need a bigger house to hold all my stuff & I am jealous of that room Elizabeth Taylor had to put her clothing in.

  3. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth converted to Judaism because of her marriage to Eddie Fisher, but continued to practice long after they split until her death.

    During the filming of Cleopatra, she was not allowed to enter Egypt due to her Jewish affiliations.

    Ironically, she was cast as the Jewish character of Rebecca in the film of “Ivanhoe” seven years !*before*! her conversion to Judaism. (Ivanhoe is noteworthy as just about the first major work of British literature to very overtly portray anti-Semitism as a bad thing.)

    When quite young, Ms. Taylor rode in the car of an extended family member of mine. I have no idea what boots she was wearing, if any.

  4. Paul-G
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    She seems to be wearing a large sparkling cross around her neck in the wheel chair photo. Is that unusual for an American Jew?

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Is there star of David ‘bling’ jewelry?

    • Posted December 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      She was a fan of the letter “t”.

      /@

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

        When I was a kid, my parents took me to a cousin’s wedding in a Catholic church & I loudly enquired, “Who’s T-man?”.

        So, I think your theory about being a fan of the letter T is a reasonable one.

      • darrelle
        Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Funny thing, my son was infatuated with the letter T as a crawler / toddler. Even before he could walk we would find his crib filled with all of the letters T from among all the kids toys and learning games. He’d carry Ts around with him all the time. Any time any where there would be a T of some sort clutched in his little fist, and more stuffed in his pockets.

        • Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Well, he would be safe from vampires.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted December 18, 2013 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            Kryptonite Ts would be even better because they’d protect you from Superman AND vampires.

            Okay, I stole that one from Jack Handey.

          • darrelle
            Posted December 19, 2013 at 6:34 am | Permalink

            Hah, I can see it now on the big screen, Toddler Vampire Slayer!

            Sort of the antithesis of It’s Alive!

    • kansaskitty
      Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      Weren’t crosses a fashion item in the 1990’s? If I remember right, it seems a lot of people wore blingy crosses whether they were christian or not.

  5. Paul Rose
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    She acted in National Velvet (1944) at the age of 12. Of course she wore boots in the film, but as near as I can tell, they are not cowboy bots.

  6. Lianne Byram
    Posted December 18, 2013 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Great post! Love the $10,800 pair. Always liked Liz – she had flair.


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