Diana’s First Public Appearance Dress To Be Auctioned


Among a cornucopia of other things, the late Princess Diana quickly became a style icon in her own right. She modernized the idea of how to dress as a princess, opting for gorgeous slim cut ball gowns and smart suits rather than huge, puffy Disney dresses. As a result, Diana always looked absolutely magnificent.

In her first official public appearance in 1981, the Princess wore a black taffeta dress made by dress makers David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The dressed instantly caused drama amongst the British royalty who considered black to be a color reserved for funerals rather than celebrations.

After losing a considerable amount of weight, apparently due to pre-wedding stress, Diana no longer fit into the famed dress as the designers made it. Instead of an intense dose of tailoring, the Emanuels decided to make an entirely new dress: exactly the same, just smaller. They held onto the original dress, which was just recently rediscovered.

According to The Telegraph:

This gown forms part of the Emanuel Archive of Princess Diana-related material comprising 30 lots ranging from actual clothes worn by the Princess to fashion sketches, invoices, letters and related ephemera and expected to fetch a total of up to £175, 000 [about $270,000 US]. It charts the transformation of the Princess from a young, inexperienced teenager into a world-renowned style icon.

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 the Princess for fittings and rehearsals at St Pauls Cathedral, a duplicate sequined veil, invoices, letters from the Princess’ mother, correspondence with Buckingham Palace and a photographic record of the making of the bridal gown. The collection also features fashion designs for the Princess’ official tours to Venice 1984 and the Middle East in 1986.

Bidding for the black David and Elizabeth Emanuel dress starts at 50,000 pounds (about $76,000 U.S.) at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London on June 8.

For fashion’s sake, we hope that whomever wins the dress donates it to a museum or gallery that can properly showcase the gown for what it is: a piece of history. While we all have the right to dream of princess dresses, Diana’s wardrobe deserves a place in history, rather than in someone’s closet.

Though we wouldn’t object for a chance to slip into the gown for a few minutes, or hours…

Photo courtesy of The Telegraph.

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