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Elizabeth Taylor’s stunning 1969 violet and periwinkle blue gown fetched the highest price of the evening Thursday, as Christie’s New York auctioned off outfits worn by the stars to the Oscars over the past 40 years. The $167,500 for the Edith Head-designed creation raised money for American Foundation for AIDS Research. as did the 55 other gowns that went on the block. (Only one other dress ever fetched more than Liz’s at a charity auction: one of Princess Diana’s gowns for $222,500.) Mattel Inc. bought the Taylor gown. All told, $786,120 was raised Thursday. The Home Shopping Network bought Madonna’s Jean-Paul Gaultier gown for $79,500. Two other cable channels, American Movie Classics and its sister station, Romance Classics, bought the third- and fourth-highest priced dresses, worn, respectively, by “Titanic” star Kate Winslet in 1998 and by Janet Leigh (“Psycho”) to the 1959 ceremony. Another crowd-pleaser was a crimson, pleated, silk evening number worn by Lauren Bacall in 1978.