Dress worn by Diana sells for nearly £500,000 at auction

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A dress worn by Diana, Princess of Wales has been sold for nearly half a million pounds in an auction at Sotheby’s New York salesroom.

The “Infanta”-style strapless purple evening gown, by Victor Edelstein, which Diana wore in a royal portrait in 1991, was bought on Friday for 604,800 dollars (£488,15) at the curated auction The One.

Sotheby’s said the final bid was five times the pre-auction estimate of 80,000-120,000 dollars (£66,153-99,230).

Diana first wore the dress for an official portrait by photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon, who was the former husband of Princess Margaret.

Cynthia Houlton, Sotheby’s global head of fashion and accessories, said: “Diana has long been renowned and celebrated for her timeless sense of style, and this sleek and sophisticated bespoke ball gown, designed by Victor Edelstein, encapsulates Princess Diana’s effortless elegance.

“Today’s sale of this historic dress is a reminder of Princess Diana’s enduring legacy that continues to inspire people all over the world.”

Diana would wear the dress again for a 1997 Vanity Fair spread, shot by photographer Mario Testino.

That same year, the ball dress of deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back, was sold as part of a charity event.

Diana dress auction
The ball dress is of deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back (Sothebys/PA)

The ball dress, designed for Edelstein’s Autumn 1989 collection, was sold 26 years ago for 24,150 dollars (£19,492).

Edelstein, who would design other dresses worn by Diana in the 1980s and 1990s, also made the midnight-blue, off-the-shoulder, velvet gown she wore at a state banquet at the White House given by US president Ronald Reagan.

During the event in 1985, Diana famously danced with Hollywood actor John Travolta.

At The One auction on Friday, a jersey worn by American basketball player LeBron James during an NBA victory in 2013 was sold for 3.7 million dollars (£3 million).

A previous top, worn by James during a game, sold for 630,000 dollars (£508,366) in 2020.

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