Dressing the Part of Barbara Walters

If anyone could make a baby pink suit look intimidating, it was Barbara Walters. The TV news anchor coolly lobbed questions at the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in a 1989 interview while sheathed shoulder to knee in pastel Chanel and pearls.

Back then Ms. Walters, who died in 2022 at the age of 93, reigned among the most celebrated, highly paid and formidable journalists in broadcast news. A trailblazer, she made history as the first female co-host of the “Today” show — and then made history again when she became the first female anchor of the ABC evening news. Later in her decades-long career she migrated to the newsmagazine show “20/20” and to “The View,” the daytime talk show she cocreated.

Ms. Walters wore a pink Chanel skirt suit while interviewing the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 1989. Credit…Kimberly Butler/Getty Images

Along the way Ms. Walters, who formally retired in 2014, became as famous as many of the high-profile subjects she interviewed, a group that included Katharine Hepburn, Anna Wintour, Michael Jackson and Monica Lewinsky, as well as several U.S. presidents and other world leaders, like Margaret Thatcher, Fidel Castro and Vladimir Putin.

Her wardrobe for such encounters was both shrewdly considered and often audacious, filling with brash hits of color as her fame grew. This week bits of Ms. Walters’s sartorial legacy were on view — and on sale — at a showroom in Midtown Manhattan as part of a two-day event that drew a steady stream of women in media eager to comb through racks of clothing the journalist had owned.

Gowns and cocktail dresses owned by Ms. Walters were among the items for sale.Credit…Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
The event also featured some of the more colorful attire owned by Ms. Walters.Credit…Lou Rocco/ABC
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