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  4. The wet shirt that turned Colin Firth into a 'sex symbol' in 'Pride and Prejudice' sparked a bidding war — and sold for more than double what auctioneers predicted

The wet shirt that turned Colin Firth into a 'sex symbol' in 'Pride and Prejudice' sparked a bidding war — and sold for more than double what auctioneers predicted

Maria Noyen   

The wet shirt that turned Colin Firth into a 'sex symbol' in 'Pride and Prejudice' sparked a bidding war — and sold for more than double what auctioneers predicted
  • A white shirt that Colin Firth wore in 1995's "Pride and Prejudice" sold for over $31,000 at auction.
  • In a now-infamous scene, Firth wore the linen top into a lake, where it got wet and see-through.

Condolences to "Pride and Prejudice" fans — the wet shirt that turned Colin Firth into a "sex symbol" is off the market.

A mystery buyer spent more than $31,000 on the white linen top at an auction Tuesday.

The garment — worn by Firth as lovable curmudgeon Mr. Darcy in an infamous lake scene in the 1995 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel — was one of 69 costumes up for auction in London on Tuesday.

Other pieces in the collection, organized by BAFTA and period costume shop Cosprop, include the winged "Cinderella" gown Drew Barrymore wore in "Ever After," Johnny Depp's ringmaster outfit from "Finding Neverland," and the floral silk gown worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in "Emma."

The wet shirt was hottest ticket in the sale, a representative from auction house Kerry Taylor told Business Insider in an email.

Kerry Taylor predicted the shirt would sell for between £7,000 (around $8,900) and £10,000 (around $12,700). But it sold Tuesday night for £25,000, or $31,700 — more than double the estimated amount.

The shirt has earned a spot in the annals of popular culture.

In 2022, Queen Camilla visited it when it was part of an exhibition of Regency-era underwear at Jane Austen's House museum, southwest of London.

Made from white linen, the shirt features billowing sleeves and a deep V-neckline held together by two small buttons.

The shirt's designer, Dinah Collin, said that Firth's "wet shirt moment" wasn't part of the original "Pride and Prejudice" script, according to the item description on the Kerry Taylor website.

The idea stemmed from discussions of how to work around an on-screen nudity ban for a scene involving Mr. Darcy exiting a lake after a "cooling swim on a hot summer's day," Collin said.

"The idea of the 'wet shirt' was born," Collon added. "The scene caused something of a sensation at the time, and transformed Colin Firth from a respected classical actor to something of a sex symbol overnight."

Now a new fan can treasure it forever.


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