One of Princess Diana’s dazzling and most enchanting gowns ever, the “fairytale gown” was sold for £102,000 (approx. $165,000) yesterday at the Passion for Fashion auction held by Kerry Taylor auction house in London. That is £20,000 more than the pre-auction estimate.
The gown was designed by Diana’s favorite design duo Elizabeth and David Emmanuel, who also made her fairytale wedding gown. Rather than going for a custom made gown, Diana bought this off the rack from Emmanuel’s showroom. “She had spotted this particular dress hanging on a rail and immediately tried it on. It fitted her perfectly and we knew she would draw gasps from the crowd when she made her sparkling entrance,” said Elizabeth.
The gown and the collection it came from was inspired by the beautiful print designs of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe. The gown itself is a work of art created with rich gold embroidery and pearls on crisp white layers of silk organza and satin. Its strapless and heavily jeweled bodice is a reminder of royal portraits from centuries ago.
Diana decided to wear it without the frilly sleeves. And Elizabeth explained why “I remember the Princess was worried that the original frilled cap sleeves might get crushed when she took her seat in the cinema and so we removed them. As usual, the Princess was right. She looked even more stunning because the dress was less fussy and now the fitted bodice emphasized her beautiful shoulders and her tiny waist.”
Diana wore this dress three times in public. First at a banquet for the German Ambassador in London, then in 1986 to the Royal Opera House and finally in 1987 for the premiere of James Bond movie The Living Daylights. The gown was part of the dresses that was auctioned in 1997 by Christie’s in New York for charity.
The Kerry Taylor auction house has previously sold Diana’s velvet floor-length gown that she wore to dance with John Travolta at the White House. The auction house revealed the gown was sold to an overseas museum.