Auction Results

Princess Diana dress auction smashes estimates


A dress worn by Princess Diana has sold for $1.1 million at auction.

The black velvet and blue organza piece was worn by Diana in 1985. It beat its estimate by a factor of 11.

The sale confirms a continuing boom in values for items related to Diana, Princess of Wales.

The gown was sold on December 17th in a single-day online sale. It carried an estimate of $100,000 to $200,000 and attracted 19 bids on its way to its record-breaking total. the buyer has not been named.

Interest in Diana is high and so are prices for garments she wore.

A detail of the bodice from the record-breaking gown.

A blouse worn for Princess Diana’s engagement portrait was also sold in this auction. At $381,000 it was four times more valuable than its estimate.

In September 2023, a dress designed for her by Victor Edelstein raised $600,000 at auction. That set the record that this item broke.

The famous “black sheep” sweater she was photographed in when her engagement to (then) Prince Charles first became public sold for $1.14 million in September. It also massively outperformed its estimate of $50,000 to $80,000.

This piece shares many of the characteristics that made those items so desirable.

It is by a name designer, in this case Jacques Azagury.

The designer has a connection to Diana. She visited Azagury’s studio to pick out favourite gowns, which the designer then tailored to her look.

It was photographed. Of course, almost everything Diana ever wore was snapped by paparazzi, but the pictures of this gown on a royal visit to Italy in 1985 are striking.

It captures Diana’s style. The princess is an icon for many reasons, not least her fashion sense. Everything she wore was – and still is – imitated by fans. This piece is a wonderful moment of 1980s fashion. The design’s large skirt is believed to have been added to reflect Diana’s love of dance.

Fashion critic Elizabeth Holmes told the New York Times: “The fact that this dress, all these years later, goes for this amount — I think people continue to be in awe of her and her fashion,”

She added that the piece reflected the thought Diana put into her clothing choices: “You can see that in this dress. You can place it in time.”

Beyond the individual item’s appeal though is the enduring fascination of Diana. She is undoubtedly the most followed UK royal of modern times.

Her life story is now being retold in the Netflix series, The Crown, and her children are both highly scrutinized public figures. Her public life story has love, loss, tragedy, acclaim, courage… everything that makes a heroine.

It’s also the perfect combination to bring money into the market. More records may be broken in the near future.

This dress was sold by Diana in 1997 and bought by Time Inc, who donated it to the New York Historical Society, which will benefit from the proceeds of this sale.

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