Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara wore the lilic outfit for a significant proportion of the film. There were apparently twenty-seven versions of the lilac outfit used in the film, this quantity were needed due to the fact that it featured in the film for over an hour and in some of the most dramatic scenes. Scarlett wears the lilac outfit for example when nursing Confederate soldiers in Atlanta, searching for the doctor to help with the delivery of Melanie's baby and during the delivery scene itself, during the dramatic flight from Atlanta to Tara - and when she falls to her knees in the run-down fields of Tara swearing she'll never be hungry again; it was described by William Kurtz as
..a suit of armour for the embattled Scarlett.. when she meets a Yankee soldier in Tara; and the last appearance of the outfit is when Scarlett rips down the green velvet curtains to make them into a more appealing replacement dress to wear, when visiting Rhett Butler in jail. It is quite surprizing that any part of these twenty-seven outfits has survived when the treatment they underwent during filming is considered ...If one of the versions of the dress was torn, burned, or bleached during a scene, wardrobe would tear, burn, or bleach the others exactly the same way. Getting the dress to fade for its last appearances was a problem. Plunkett remembered, "We coulden't bleach any further. The dye was just too strong....So, the last 5 or 6 were ripped apart and turned inside out because the colour was weaker on the wrong side...
Christie's would like to thank Jim Tumblin, leading authority on 'Gone With The Wind' for his invaluable help with their research into this lot.
See colour illustration p.?
Photograph courtesy of the B.F.I. and M.G.M.