Diana’s lost gown to be sold at auction in June

This is an amazing story…

The black taffeta gown worn by Princess Diana for her first official appearance with HRH Prince Charles in 1981 (shortly after they had announced their engagement)  will be coming up for auction on June 8th 2010 at Kerry Taylor Auctions. As Lady Diana bent down to climb out of the car she was met with a frenzy of press flash bulbs and the headlines next day included `Daring Di sets fashion as she takes the plunge’. However, Whilst Diana thought that black was a very elegant and grown-up colour to wear (she was only 19 at the time) it was deemed at the time an unusual choice as the Royal family wear this colour exclusively for mourning!  However, the reaction of the general public to her appearance was rapturous. As the weeks before her wedding progressed Diana lost so much weight that she returned the gown to the Emanuels to have it taken in. The alterations required were so drastic that they decided it would be easier to re-make a smaller version for her. They kept the original and forgot about it – only re-discovering it quite recently. It was rumoured that the Princess had destroyed the black dress. It will be sold together with an original copy of the invoice, fashion sketches and contemporary photographs of her wearing it. Estimate £30-50,000.

This gown forms part of the historically Important Emanuel Archive of Princess Diana related material (1981-1986) which comprises around 30 lots ranging from actual clothes worn by the Princess to fashion sketches, invoices, letters and related ephemera. The collection is estimated to fetch between £70-110,000. It charts the emergence and transformation of Lady Diana Spencer from a young, inexperienced fashion ingénue into the world renowned style icon that we all came to know. 

In the very early days Diana was aided and abetted in her fashion forays by the young British designers David Emanuel and Elizabeth Emanuel. They first came to Princess Diana’s attention in Spring 1981, when she selected a simple oyster pink chiffon Emanuel blouse from rails of other suggested clothes, for a Vogue photo-shoot to celebrate her recently announced engagement to Prince Charles. The blouse is also included in the auction and is estimated to fetch between £10-15,000.

A large part of the Emanuel Archive focuses on the Royal wedding gown and includes original designs and toiles for the bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses, the layered tulle petticoat worn by Princess Diana for fittings and rehearsals at St Pauls Cathedral, a duplicate sequined veil, invoices, letters from Lady Diana’s mother, correspondence with Buckingham Palace and a photographic record of the making of the bridal gown. The collection ends with fashion designs for Princess Diana’s official tours to Venice 1984 and the Middle East in 1986.

Estimates range from £300 for a group of ephemera and letters relating to the royal wedding to £30,000 for the black taffeta gown.

For further information please contact:

Kerry Taylor

Email: info@kerrytaylorauctions.com

Auction: Tuesday June 8th
Viewing: Sunday June 6th and Monday June 7th
Venue: La Galleria, 30 Royal Opera Arcade, Pall Mall, London


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