Back in August of 2018, we wrote about Grammy-award winning recording artist Aretha Franklin’s ties to Buffalo*, as a tribute to her passing. At the time, we were not aware that someone locally was in possession of one of the singer’s bedazzled gowns. It turns out that the “nearly floor length, long sleeve black Crystal Evening Wear gown, bedecked with multicolor sequins and Swarovski crystals” has been in the possession of PATE Entertainment, Inc. of Buffalo, promoters of the VH1 2001 concert –VH1 Divas Live: The One and Only Aretha Franklin.
Now this special dress, once owned by the Queen of Soul, is scheduled to be auctioned off at 10am on Saturday, May 11, at Schultz Auctioneers, 11177 Main Street in Clarence.
“Aretha Franklin wasn’t just known for her singing talents,” says Kelly Schultz. “She was also a fashion icon who loved elaborate, stylish outfits featuring lots of sequins, and her clothes have sold in the thousands of dollars range. We’re hoping her connection to Western New York brings great interest for this iconic piece of her wardrobe.”
Franklin, the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, passed away in 2018 at the age of 76.
While this was not the actual dress that the singer wore when on stage at the tribute concert held in Radio City Music Hall in New York City in April 2001, it was one of the outfits that she brought along with her to the tribute event, which benefited VH1’s Save The Music Foundation.
As a measure of authenticity, a letter of provenance has been signed by Clarine Monique Pate, which will accompany the gown at the auction.
Previews of the auction, which includes items from the estate of Marion Lee of Hamburg, will take place on Friday, May 10 from noon to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, May 11 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. The auction is free and open to the public; reservations are not required. For more information, call 716.759.2260 or visit www.SchultzAuctioneers.net for photos and descriptions.
*Franklin’s family moved to Buffalo in 1944, when Franklin was just two years old. Her father, a pastor, relocated the family to Detroit when Aretha was five years old, but her mother, Barbara Franklin, returned to Buffalo after separating from Aretha’s father in 1948; she died in 1952.