13 March 2013

Random Tidbits: Another Diana Dress Auction

Since we had our weekly wedding chat on Monday, we have a little something different to chat about today: Diana.

In 1997, not long before her death, the Princess of Wales auctioned a selection of her dresses for charity. The dresses have lived on, sometimes appearing on exhibit, and sometimes coming up for auction again. That's the case right now, as some of Diana's dresses bought by a now-bankrupt American businesswoman and socialite will be auctioned this month. This group of dresses is a good representation of Diana's style through the years, as rendered by her favorite designers. Many have a single famous outing, but most were worn multiple times.

A black velvet Bruce Oldfield and two deep red velvet Catherine Walker numbers - one extra famous for being the time Diana attempted a string of pearls down the back and then discovered it was a horribly uncomfortable look when one has to sit through a film premiere. The burgundy tailcoat number in the center above was inspired by a dress from imperial Russia, and was originally meant to have an ivory dress underneath. It was Diana's idea to have it all in burgundy.

White chiffon from Zandra Rhodes and two embellished pink gowns from Catherine Walker, one of which reminds me just how good a bolero jacket can look. The asymmetrical number was commissioned for an official visit to Brazil just after they lost the World Cup to Argentina, and so the design instructions included avoiding the colors of Brazil's team (green, yellow, blue), and most of all to avoid Argentina's colors (blue and white).

Sparkle ahoy! These are both from Catherine Walker. The black one was also famously captured by Mario Testino, and is what Walker termed the first "sexy" dress she made for the Princess, commissioned for an event at Versailles in 1994. It's the best representation of Diana's later style in this group of gowns.

And finally - this imidnight blue Victor Edelstein is the auction headliner, and was the high dollar winner back in 1997 too. Twirling with John Travolta at the White House was an iconic princess moment indeed (and I object to 95% of the uses of "iconic").

The auction is to be held on March 19; more info and the auction catalog is available by clicking here for the auction's site.

Is your favorite Diana gown here?

Photos: Getty Images/Regan Library