Princess Diana enchanted everyone in life and in death. Pictures of Princess Diana were the favourite of tabloids. Considered a fashion icon, her dresses have always been a hit at auctions. Recently, a collection of her evening gowns fetched a total of $1.2 million at an auction in London. The most famous of the 10 piece collection was the gown she wore at a White House dinner where she danced with John Travolta. The year was 1985 and it was the first state visit by Prince Charles and Princess Diana to the United States and the host was the then Republican President Ronald Reagan. The image of a princess dancing with a handsome hero is the stuff fairytales are made of and has been embedded in our brains and quite understandably so.
The deep navy velvet gown was designed by Victor Edelstein. It was bought for $372,800 or 240,000 pounds according to Kerry Taylor Auctions, though the pre-auction estimate was 300,000 pounds. Though the buyer remained anonymous, the auction house did disclose that it went to a “British gentleman as a surprise to cheer up his wife.” Buyers from around the globe came to the auction including three museums.
Two other gowns went for 180,000 pounds each and were made by one of her favourite designer, Catherine Walker. One of them was a beaded, black velvet gown worn by her for a 1997 Vanity Fair photo shoot taken by Mario Testino at the Kensington Palace, and the other one was a burgundy crushed velvet dress worn by the princess in 1985 to the film premiere of “Back to the Future”.
In 1997, just three months before her death, she sold dozens of her dresses at a New York charity auction at the suggestion of her son, Prince William. Socialite, Maureen Dunkel bought several of the dresses and put them up for auction in 2011, in Canada. But many did not fetch buyers due to the high asking price. In January, a picture of Princess Diana from her teenage years went under the hammer for around $18,000.