The original Bengaline honeymoon gown
The Bengaline Honeymoon Gown was worn by actress Vivien Leigh in her role as Scarlett O'Hara in the film version of Margaret Mitchell's epic novel Gone with the Wind.
The gown was designed by Walter Plunkett and is made of ecru silk bengaline with elaborately embroidered over-sleeves overlying black pleated Chinese silk. The ornate gown was designed to satirize the nouveau riche Scarlett as she quotes Mammy who had stated that she and Rhett were "just mules in horse harness." Wilbur Kurtz, technical advisor for Gone with the Wind remarked that the dress was a creation "that would make a Parisian Courtier retire to a cave for fasting and prayer."
Walter Plunkett, who designed all of Miss Leigh's costumes for the film, and many of the other cast members costumes, recreated the hat and veil in the 1970's when the gown was displayed at the Academy. The gown had been shown at Diana Vreeland's Exhibit of Hollywood Fashion at the Met a few years earlier, where the original hat and veil were misplaced. They resurfaced in 2000 and again in 2007 for auction, but due to their worn condition, current owner, Dr. Sullivan opted to display the 1970's versions.
In 1998, the gown was displayed at the Kent State University Museum and has been on display at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. In 2005, it was on loan to Turner Classic Movies for their Lights, Camera, Classics Exhibition and traveled to six major cities throughout the U.S.
It is said that only 7 original costumes worn for the role of Scarlett O'Hara survived throughout the years. Those costumes, too fragile to travel, have been safely tucked away in the archives at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas since the early 1970's.
The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum is the only location known to have an original costume on display to the public that was worn by Vivien Leigh in her role as Scarlett O'Hara.