London auction house Kerry Taylor will auction off ten iconic dresses belonging to Diana, the late Princess of Wales, on March 19, 2013. The auction house expects to raise a huge sum when the dresses that were made by Diana’s favourite designers – Zandea Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Bruce Oldfield and Victor Edelstein go under the hammer. Collectively the dresses are believed to be worth around USD 919,000, according to a spokeswoman for Kerry Taylor Auctions.
Diana, known as ‘The People’s Princess,’ had a penchant for fine clothes and jewellery. Her sense of style was iconic and she set the fashion trend for young women all over the globe. Diana, at her son Prince Williams’ persuasion, donated the ten dresses and they were originally sold in a charity auction in New York in June 1997, just two months before the princess’ untimely death in a Paris car crash, while being pursued by the French paparazzi.
A Florida-based businesswoman by name Maureen Dunkel had bought the dresses along with four others. She was forced to put them up for auction in 2011 after she went bankrupt, but only managed to sell four of them. “The reserve prices were ridiculously high. That sale was a bit of a disaster. But they are beautiful dresses. We have a good reputation for selling these things and the estimates are sensible, rooted in reality and obtainable. Some of the gowns were worn for official state visits to Austria, Australia, Brazil, India, South Korea and the United States of America,” said the auction house, which specialises in vintage fashion sales.
Here we take you through the ten dresses that will be up for auctions come March.
A Catherine Walker sea green sequined evening gown, worn for a state visit to Austria in 1989.
A Victor Edelstein midnight blue velvet evening gown, worn to a state dinner at the White House in November 1995, where the Princess danced with John Travolta; Hollywood Actor of ‘Grease’ and ‘Saturday Night Fever’ fame.
A Catherine Walker ‘Mughal’-inspired, lavishly embroidered, pink silk evening gown made for a state visit to India in February 1992.
A Catherine Walker burgundy crushed velvet evening gown worn for a state visit to Australia and to the premiere of the film, ‘Back to the Future,’ in 1985.
A Catherine Walker black velvet and beaded evening gown worn for a Vanity Fair photo-shoot by Mario Testino at Kensington Palace in 1997.
A Catherine Walker pink sequins ivory crepe gown with asymmetric neckline, worn at a banquet given by President Collor at the Itamaraty Palace, while Diana was on a state visit to Brazil in April 1991.
A Bruce Oldfield black velvet evening gown worn for an official portrait by Lord Snowdon and also at the gala opening of ‘Les Misérables’ (ignoring Prince Charles’ warning that black was strictly against royal protocol), at the Barbican Centre in October 1985.
A Catherine Walker burgundy velvet sheath with embroidered tailcoat, worn for a state visit to Korea in 1992 and to the premiere of ‘Steel Magnolias’ in February 1990.
A Zandra Rhodes white chiffon cocktail dress worn to the Birthright Benefit at the London Palladium in May 1987.
A Victor Edelstein bottle-green velvet evening gown, worn for private entertaining in 1985. On the dress is the print of a small hand on the skirt-possibly that of a young prince!