SHE was one of the most beautiful film stars of her generation and now North East fans can own a slice of actress Vivien Leigh’s style.
An ocelot fur coat and luxury pig-skin suitcase said to have been owned by the Gone with the Wind-star has been snapped up at an auction by a vintage clothes collector.
Fawn Cheyne, who runs Ding Dong vintage emporium in Durham City, successfully bid for the three-quarter length leopard fur coat and cream leather suitcase at Miller’s Auction Rooms in Newcastle.
Fawn said: “The coat is for sale in our shop now but I can’t bring myself to sell the suitcase just yet.
“It will go in the shop eventually, but for now I’m just treasuring it.
“It’s absolutely beautiful and in superb condition, in cream pig-skin with a beautiful lining in quilted gold satin.
“It has the initials VLO embossed on it in gold letters, for Vivien Leigh Olivier, and it dates back to her marriage to Laurence Olivier, between 1940 and 1960.”
The suitcase also carries a Cunard cruise liner address stamp reading Eaton Square, London, which was Miss Leigh’s London home, and bears the name of Gertrude Trudy Flockharte, who was a maid to the Hollywood star.
It was handed to Miller’s Auction Rooms in Newcastle by a granddaughter of Mrs Flockharte, leading the new owner to assume the case was passed on to the maid.
The ocelot coat was purchased with the suitcase at auction in June.
“The auctioneer, Guy MacLam, introduced the goods at auction as original and unique and owned by Vivien Leigh Olivier,” said Fawn.
“I’ve been collecting vintage goods for years and I’ve had many beautiful Hollywood items, but these are two of the most beautiful I’ve seen.” Fawn also supplies vintage clothing to TV drama companies and provided outfits for Martin Shaw and his co-stars during the recent North East location filming for the TV drama Inspector George Gently.
Ding Dong Vintage also stocks several dresses from the James Bond movies and this week the personal stylist for Pirates of the Caribbean star Johnny Depp also visited the store, at The Gates, Framwellgate Bridge, to snap up a suit for the actor.
Fawn set up the shop because her South Shields home was bursting with her mum’s collection of vintage items built up over 25 years.
“We’ve collected amazing dresses and coats which came from Hollywood film sets and stately homes,” said Fawn.
“People love the vintage look particularly when there is a story behind an item, like the Vivien Leigh coat and case.
“We find vintage fur coats sell amazingly well; they are so glamorous.”
Ding Dong has also recently sold a range of vintage animal-print suitcases to a princess who is attending Durham University and regularly has collectors from London travelling to the store to pick up pieces to sell in stores in Carnaby Street.
Ding Dong Vintage, 45 The Gates, Framwellgate Bridge, Durham, tel: 07887 536409.