Princess Diana’s Top Five Most Expensive Wardrobe Items



Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997) sporting the “Black Sheep” wool jumper by Heat and Great (Muir & Osborne) to Windsor Polo, June 1981 (photograph by Tim Graham Photograph Library by way of Getty Photographs, courtesy Sotheby’s)

Positioned on the intersection of cult of superstar and late-stage capitalism, the public sale home generally is a good venue to showcase the jaw-dropping sums persons are prepared to pay for a connection to certainly one of their icons. For each notable or infamous individual — from John Wayne Gacy to Judy Garland to Joan Didion — there’s an usually nameless purchaser able to throw down severe cash to take house a chunk of historical past.

Princess Diana was no stranger to the superstar public sale; solely months earlier than her demise in 1997, the beloved royal donated 79 choices from her in depth and stylish wardrobe to be bought in help of philanthropic causes. Curiosity within the famously trendy princess’s clothes has not waned within the intervening many years, as proved final week by the record-breaking sale of a crimson knitwear jumper adorned with graphic white sheep (and a single black sheep as a featured front-and-center misanthrope, very similar to Diana herself), designed by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne of Heat and Great. Established in 1979, the model was thrust into the nationwide highlight when then-Woman Diana Spencer wore certainly one of their authentic designs to a polo match in June of 1981. This outing, and the following media frenzy, established the princess’s behavior of creating daring and non-traditional style selections as a public determine topic to unimaginable media and interpersonal scrutiny. The unique sweater sustained some harm that day, inflicting Diana’s secretary to hunt its restore or alternative. Joyful to switch a chunk that had so enormously boosted their model recognition, the unique sweater worn by Princess Diana was saved in an attic and forgotten till March of 2023, when Osborne found it whereas on the lookout for an outdated sample. The place else to go, however to public sale? Whereas Sotheby’s probably anticipated the merchandise to exceed its projected worth of $50–$80K, the hammer dropped at $1,143,000 — greater than 14 instances its excessive estimate.

Although this merchandise set two new data — Most worthy merchandise of Princess Diana’s clothes ever bought at public sale, and Most worthy sweater ever bought at public sale, in accordance with Sotheby’s — this isn’t the primary time a garment worn by the enduring princess has fetched a royal sum. Listed below are the 5 highest public sale outcomes related to Princess Diana’s clothes … for now.

1. Princess Diana’s Sheep Jumper

“Black Sheep” wool jumper by Heat and Great (Muir & Osborne) (1981) (picture courtesy Sotheby’s)

There may be nice energy in confirming public notion, and the sheep motif amplified Diana’s ‘Woman of the Folks’ title,” says Sotheby’s public sale description. “The sheep sample could possibly be interpreted as a nod to British agricultural historical past; A celebration of the countryside that additionally lends itself to creating a way of groundedness.” Paying greater than one million {dollars} for that very same sweater maybe deflates a few of that aura of humility, however we didn’t carry our issues to public sale to offer the stuff away, amirite?

2. Princess Diana Ball Costume

The Princess Diana Ball Costume by Victor Edelstein (Autumn 1989) (picture courtesy Sotheby’s)

The Princess Diana Ball Dress (Victor Edelstein, 1989) bought at Sotheby’s this January for $604,800. This gorgeous robe in intricately pleated aubergine velvet was a part of the 1997 charity auction at Christie’s, which offered 79 of Princess Diana’s attire, however its return to the auction block firstly of this yr set a excessive watermark for demand of Diana-wear. The costume was certainly one of Diana’s favorites, showing in lots of canonical photographs of the princess, from a the royal portrait shot by Lord Snowdon (then-husband of her aunt-in-law Princess Margaret) in 1991 and Douglas Hardinge Anderson’s painted portrait of that very same yr to a photograph taken by style photographer Mario Testino for the 1997 Vanity Fair spread revealed mere months earlier than her demise.

3. Bruce Oldfield Silk Robe and Catherine Walker Night Robe

Pink Silk Bruce Odenfield (1991) and Black and Jade Catherine Walker (1991) (photographs courtesy Julien’s Auctions)

The Premiere Worn Bruce Oldfield Silk Gown (Bruce Oldfield, 1991) and Gala Dinner Worn Catherine Walker Evening Gown (Catherine Walker, 1991) bought at Julien’s Auctions this month for $571,500 every. Maybe the urge for food for the record-setting sheep jumper was whet by an public sale at Julien’s earlier this month, during which a trio of Princess Diana’s robes all eclipsed $500K. The crimson silk Bruce Oldfield quantity appears just a little stylish for the premiere of the 1991 slapstick warfare comedy Sizzling Pictures, however a crimson carpet is a crimson carpet, in any case, and paparazzi images seize Princess Diana exchanging handshakes with Charlie Sheen earlier than the occasion. The jade Catherine Walker feels extra acceptable to the context, because it was worn to a gala dinner on the Royal York Lodge in Toronto in 1991. Each robes, and one other Catherine Walker that ranks fourth on our record, have been purchased by businesswoman Ellen Petho on the 1997 Christie’s public sale, in accordance with Tatler.

4. Catherine Walker Customized-Made Black Velvet and Ivory Robe

Customized black-and-white Catherine Walker (yr unspecified) (picture courtesy Julien’s Auctions)

A Custom-Made Black Velvet and Ivory Gown (Catherine Walker, yr unspecified) additionally bought at Julien’s Auctions this month, for $508,000. The ultimate costume within the trio worn by Princess Diana to a personal occasion fetched barely lower than the 2 mentioned earlier, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a severe quantity; one assumes that Petho obtained a strong return on her 1997 Christie’s acquisition. Catherine Walker was certainly one of Princess Diana’s favorite designers, creating customized designs for the royal throughout nearly twenty years, together with the black costume during which Diana was buried at Althorp, her household property.

5. Murray Arbeid Night Robe

Left: Princess Diana at Worshipfull Firm of Fanmakers Banquet, Mansion Home December 1985 (photograph by Tom Wargacki/WireImage); proper: robe by Murray Arbeid (pictures courtesy Sotheby’s)

The Princess Diana Evening Gown (Murray Arbeid, 1985) bought at Sotheby’s, additionally this month, for $381,000. Although the sheep jumper was the belle of ball final week, this one didn’t do too badly, both. Worn twice by Princess Diana in 1985, to have a good time Prince Edward’s twenty first birthday on the Midsummer Nights Ball in June and once more in December to the Worshipfull Firm of Fanmakers Banquet, the black, strapless velvet sheath is buttressed by a cascade of white taffeta. As recounted to Vogue in 2021, Natasha Fairweather, a college buddy of Prince Edward additionally in attendance on the ball, was mortified to find that she had arrived at Windsor Fortress for the party in the identical costume, even going as far as to seek the advice of the Queen Mom for recommendation concerning the fake pas (apparently, it was deemed acceptable to stay on the get together). In 2019, a Victor Edelstein robe worn by Diana whereas she danced with John Travolta on the White Home in 1985 bought for £281,000 (~$347,000).

With so a lot of Princess Diana’s public sale gadgets resurfacing, these is probably not the final record-shattering numbers we see for the wardrobe of certainly one of historical past’s most enduring princesses.


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