Whether it’s the Eighties or 2018, Princess Diana will always be in style.
And whilst during her life, it was sometimes possible to buy in to her exquisite wardrobe – the princess would often auction off her clothes to raise money for charity – since her death in 1997, opportunities to get hold of an iconic item belonging to the late Princess have been few and far between. Indeed, 79 of her exquisite evening gowns were sold in the Nineties and only a few now remain uncounted for.
One of which, was – until recently – an elegant silk gown designed by the Emanuels, the same duo who created her historic wedding dress.
Diana wore it for a banquet during an official royal visit to Bahrain in November 1986. But little more was known about it after that – until now.
The dress is about to be auctioned off at Passion for Fashion by Kerry Taylor Auctions in London on December 10.
Where has it been all this time? Sitting in a box!
In 1994, the dress was sent to a charity shop in Hereford, and was later purchased for the princely sum of £200.
The woman who bought it had worked as a part-time assistant at the shop and had intended to wear it to a ball, but never did.
For over 20 years, the dress remained in storage, unworn, meaning it remains in mint condition. In fact, the owner had no idea about the dress’s importance until recently.
“It was only after seeing press footage in recent years that she realised the significance of the gown stored in her bedroom,” the dress’s lot page reads.
“She recalls that this fabulous dress was delivered to the shop, along with a group of Princess Diana’s more mundane daywear and suits, by the housekeeper of the nearby Mynde Park estate. The chatelaine of Mynde Park was Caroline Twiston-Davies (née Habord-Hammon), a childhood friend of the Princess of Wales.”
The dress also comes with a letter from Elizabeth Emanuel, which confirms that the lavish gown was a one-off commissioned piece by Princess Diana for the 1986 Gulf tour – so it is very much one of a kind.
The elegant ivory silk dress features a draped bodice, crystal adornment and a cockade on one shoulder, alongside not one but two links to the princess’ wedding dress. Not only is it designed by the same designers, but it was embroidered by Hand & Lock, who also embroidered the princess’ bridal veil.
With its remarkable history, it’s hardly surprising that the important artefact is estimated to fetch £60,000-100,000 when it goes on sale on early next month.