Last year the British public had a fantastic opportunity to see an exhibition of Princess Diana’s dresses close up when a selection of her wardrobe went on display at Kensington Palace. Now, some of these beautiful designs have actually gone up for auction, and in total have raised a staggering £862,800, smashing the estimate of around £600,000.
The lot of ten ball gowns included some of Diana’s most iconic glamorous numbers: a teal-toned sequin-encrusted dress, a burgundy velvet dress and the black halterneck design she wore in the iconic photograph by Mario Testino taken in 1997.
The biggest expense of the auction was the stunning blue velvet off-the-shoulder fishtail dress with ruched detailing that the late Princess wore in 1985 at the White House when she danced with John Travolta. Selling for £240,000, it was bought by an anonymous bidder who said that he wanted to surprise his wife with the extravagant gift.
Beautiful though these dresses are, they have become more than just pretty things to look at in recent years: they’ve also been raising money for charity. Diana herself sold them after her divorce in order to raise charity cash, and the American buyer Maureen Rorech Dunkel decided to exhibit them after the princess’s death to raise some more.
The lowest price fetched at the auction, which took place on 19th March 2013, was for a bottle-green floor-length velvet Victor Edelstein gown that Diana used to wear for private entertaining in the mid-eighties. Strangely, this dress, with its sophisticated 1940s-inspired silhouette, is one of the most easily wearable and modern-looking pieces. Velvet feels luxurious to wear, and the simple maxi-dress style is always on trend.
To inject a little Diana-inspired style into your wardrobe, don’t be afraid to go for rich colours like the greens, deep blues and burgundies on show at the auction. There’s so much more to dressing up than the humble Little Black Dress and you can get some great glamour ideas from the fab range of ladies dresses at isme.