Words Edel Cassidy
Newbridge Silverware is renowned for its unique designs in jewellery, giftware and tableware. But their flagship lifestyle store in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, is not just a shopper’s paradise, it’s also the site of the world-renowned Museum of Style Icons. In 2006, the company acquired the Givenchy dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the mad-cap thriller Charade (1963) at a Christie’s auction in London. This elegant little black dress with a sequined peplum and matching trim at the base sparked an idea that led to the creation of the Museum of Style Icons.
The iconic dress, which was initially housed in a glass cabinet in the showroom in Newbridge Silverware, generated worldwide media interest. It also attracted countless domestic and international visitors, making Newbridge Silverware a must-visit tourist attraction and shopping destination.
The story of the Hepburn dress came to the attention of Beverly Hills-based Julien’s Auctions, the leading auction house of celebrity memorabilia. Executive director of Julien’s, Martin J. Nolan, originally from Ireland, contacted Newbridge Silverware and proposed that their next auction, a collection of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, should go on pre-auction exhibition at the Newbridge Silverware showrooms. Recognising this as an exceptional opportunity, the offer was accepted. With just two months to go to the exhibition date and with no permanent exhibition space, plans were put in place to build a museum that would be ready just in time for the gala event on opening night.