One of the most iconic dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales failed to sell at a London auction held on 9 December. The Victor Edelstein gown, which is midnight blue, made of velvet, and is off the shoulder, was famously worn by a dinner Diana attended at the White House on 9 November 1985. This is the dinner where the iconic photo of Diana dancing with actor John Travolta was taken.
The gown was last purchased at auction in 2013 for 200,000 GBP. According to the auctioneer Kerry Taylor, that purchaser paid 200,000 pounds for the dress. His reason for the purchase? He was “a romantic gentleman who wanted basically to cheer up his wife.”
However, since the purchase, Taylor reported that the gown has mostly been stored out of sight in a wardrobe. Part of the motivation for the couple to offer up the gown to auction was a desire to see the gown in the public domain.
It was offered Monday at a “Passion for Fashion” auction from Kerry Taylor Auctions. The gown was estimated by the auction company to have a price tag between 250,000 and 300,000 GBP. However, it failed to reach that number during bidding and therefore wasn’t sold.
Two other pieces of clothing belonging to Diana did sell at the auction and at price tags substantially higher than their estimates. A long sleeve, blue, velvet gown of Diana’s by designer Katherine Cusack had an estimated price of between 20,000 and 30,000 GBP but sold for a whopping 48,000 GBP.
The biggest jump between estimate and sale price belonged to a navy Catherine Walker coat dress of Diana’s. Diana was photographed wearing the number in 1995 while visiting the Light Dragoon Guards in Germany. With an estimated value of between 4,000 and 6,000 GBP, it surprisingly sold for 28,000 GBP.
While many items from Diana’s wardrobe have come up for auction since her death, she was also very charitable with her clothing in her lifetime. Just months before her death, Diana donated 79 of her dresses to be auctioned off by Christie’s in New York City. The auction, held on 25 June 1997, raised money for the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund and AIDS Cancer Trust. The item that brought in the most money? The very same iconic Victor Edelstein gown that failed to sell on Monday. It sold for a staggering $222,500 and broke Christie’s previous price record of $145,000. All told, the auction raised over $5.7 million for charity, with $3.2 million coming from the gowns alone.
While the gown did not sell today, it is still one of the most iconic and recognisable pieces from Diana’s wardrobe that no doubt still has a high value.