NEW YORK—It wasn't long ago that Bette Midler blasted Lady Gaga on Twitter for appearing in a costume that was similar to Midler's famous mermaid-in-a-wheelchair get-up. Now the Divine Miss M is extending an olive branch by suggesting Gaga buy some of her originals.
"I think she should go for a real wheelchair and a real fishtail because these are really beautiful. They are decorated and hand-beaded," Midler said in an interview Tuesday. "If she is interested, she can have whatever she wants because she is a very talented girl and I love her a lot."
Gaga and the rest of the world will soon be able to bid on that costume and more, as Midler is selling some of her most iconic outfits through Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Nov. 12, with some of the proceeds benefiting her charity, the New York Restoration Project.
The Associated Press: Was it crazy to go through and look at all of those costumes, sizes and styles?
Midler: It was my weight. It was my height. It was the fashion. It was what color my hair was. It was who I was living with, or who I was in love with. It is very, very moving, but it is also time to spin that stuff out into the world. You get to a certain point in life and you say, "Do I really want my daughter to have to deal with this when I am gone?" It is just so massive and you don't. You really don't. You want people to have the joy of it while you are still alive.
AP: How did you decide what to auction?
Midler: The Julien's people came down to my warehouses and we looked through the stuff. Some of the stuff is so well known and iconic, they kind of cherry-picked what they thought was the stuff that the fans and interested parties would respond to the most, and that is what they chose. I took some of the things out of the auction. Some of it is so sentimental, has great sentimental value for me. Honestly, almost every part of my career is represented in this particular auction. It is really stunning. There are over 300 items -- stuff from the movies, stuff from the live show, stuff from my television shows, stuff from record covers. There are gold records. There is sheet music. Oh my gosh, shoes, jewelry. You name it, it is all in there. It is amazing that I saved it all, and it is amazing that there is so much of it and that it passed so fast. It just went so quickly, in the blink of an eye. I have been doing it for 40 years.
AP: What are some of the items that you could not part with?
Midler: The dress that I wore to the red carpet for the opening of "The Rose." I kept that back. That was the dress that made me cry because it was such a wonderful time in my life and I was surrounded by friends and I was so thin.
AP: You are selling the iconic mermaid costume?
Midler: Not just one. Some of my best ones are up for auction, and some of my chorus girls are up for auction, and I am waiting for Gaga to get in there and grab hers. Some of the wheelchairs are up for auction. I mean, there is a selection from everything.
AP: What if Gaga buys your entire collection?
Midler: I would be thrilled. I hope she buys at least a little bit. It would be fun. There are so many wonderful ideas and so much of it. So much of it is so funny.
AP: Do you look back on some of this and think, I can't believe I wore that?
Midler: You can say I can't believe I dressed up as a fish. You can say that. You can say I can't believe I came out in a pair of knickers that were up to my neck. I can't believe I wore a pair of pants up to my neck. You can say that about practically everything. But, I remember it all so fondly. It was a great ride. Just the best ride, just the most fun.
Alicia Quarles is the AP's global entertainment editor. Follow her at http://www.twitter.com/aliciaquarles