Princess Diana’s “fairytale” ivory-colored Emanuel gown that she loved and wore on several occasions was auctioned yesterday December 3, 2013, exceeding expectations and selling for over £100,000.
The gown, which was auctioned by Kerry Taylor Auctions of London, sold for £102,000 ($166,709), including buyer’s premium. It was estimated at selling between £50,000 and £80,000.
Bought off-the-rack and ready-to-wear, the gown was not custom-made for the former Lady Diana Spencer, who became Princess Diana upon her marriage to the future king of England, Charles Windsor.
Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who were Diana’s favorite designers and also designed her wedding gown, the strapless dress has a “fairytale princess” look to it with diamond-shaped gold detailing, rhinestones and pearl embellishments. The gown also features a split peplum bodice.
Inspired by Emanuel Bakst and from their Diaghilev collection, Princess Diana loved it so much that she wore it on several occasions, including on 4th July, 1986 to attend a banquet at the German Ambassador’s residence in London for the State visit of Richard von Weizsaker, who was the President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1984 to 1994.
On that day, the first time Diana wore the dress, she chose to accessorize the gown with a diamond tiara, but wore no petticoat, which apparently revealed her ankles.
Then on July 22, Diana wore the gown to the Royal Opera House for a performance of “Ivan the Terrible” by the Bolshoi Ballet. She chose to wear a Russian-style padded headdress, sleeve panels and a petticoat.
Diana was also photographed in the fairytale gown when she attended the premiere of the James Bond film “The Living Daylights” almost a year later at the Odeon in Leicester Square on June 29, 1987, again with the petticoat.
The dress was reportedly spotted by Princess Diana while attending a Red Cross benefit fashion show back in 1986.
Speaking about the sale, auctioneer Kerry Taylor said that the Emanuel gown was the eleventh Princess Diana dress she has sold this year and she feels “very lucky and privileged” to have handled the auctions.
Even though there has been a lot of American interest in the dress, it has apparently been bought by an “overseas” museum outside of the United Kingdom or the United States. Their identity has not been divulged at this time.
The auction house felt it was a shame that the dress will not remain in the UK but the recession is possibly a reason for the non-interest in this auction.