Princess Diana's most 'ornate and romantic' dress set to fetch up to £80,000 at auction
Photo: The Emanuel's ball gown from their 1986 'Diaghilev' collection has been described by Kerry Taylor Auction House, who are auctioning the gown, as 'arguably one of the most ornate, romantic of all Princess Diana's gowns' Princess Diana wearing the dress at the Royal Charity Premiere of 'Ivan the Terrible' at the Royal Opera House.
One of Princess Diana’s ornate dresses is set to fetch up to £80,000 at auction.
The ballgown from the Emmanuel 1986 'Diaghilev' collection has been described by Kerry Taylor Auction House, who are selling the ballgown, as 'arguably one of the most ornate, romantic of all Princess Diana’s gowns'.
Shimmering with gold sequins, crystals and pearl beads the dress was inspired by Leon Bakst's designs for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and it comes with a matching headband, optional sleeve panels and petticoat.
The Princess first caught sight of this dress, which will go under the hammer on December 3, at a Red Cross benefit fashion show in the summer of 1986.
She selected it from the twelve glittering gold and white creations that the Emanuels had sent for the occasion.
Unusually, the Princess acquired the show model, rather than specially commissioning another gown from the designers.
The standard size 10 dress fitted her perfectly and Diana chose to wear the gown on many occasions, wearing it with and without the petticoat, and with and without the sleeve panels but often choosing to wear a diamond tiara instead of the headband.
She was photographed wearing it on July 4 1986 to attend a banquet for a State visit of Richard von Weizsaker, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany at the time.
On this occasion she chose to wear a glittering diamond tiara to accessorize the gown, but wore no petticoat which produced a slimmer look and revealed her ankles. On July 22 1986 (a day or two before the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York) she wore the dress to the Royal Opera House for a performance of 'Ivan the Terrible' by the Bolshoi Ballet. On this occasion she also wore the padded headdress, sleeve panels and petticoat – the complete ensemble.
She was also photographed in the gown when she attended the premiere of the James Bond film 'The Living Daylights', almost a year later, at the Odeon, Leicester Square on June 29 1987 (with the wide layered petticoat).
The Emanuels were the favourite designers of the Princess during the 1980s and this particular dress is estimated to fetch between £50,000-£80,000 when it goes under the hammer.
Other loved items by the label included a white chiffon blouse which Diana wore for her official engagement photograph by Lord Snowdon (sold by Kerry Taylor Auctions for £26,400).
This was followed by the headline-grabbing black taffeta gown she wore for her first public engagement with Prince Charles after the announcement of their engagement at Goldsmith's Hall in 1981 (now affectionately known as the 'Take the Plunge' dress), sold for £192,000.
Of course the most memorable and important Emanuel dress of them all was the Royal bridal gown for her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981.
The Emanuels went on to make special ensembles and evening gowns for Diana's important overseas State tours with the Prince of Wales, as well as producing a wardrobe of maternity wear during her pregnancies. The duplicate bridal gown commissioned from the Emanuels at the time of the Royal Wedding was sold by the auction house for £48,000.
Kerry Taylor Auctions are famed for selling historically important Royal garments ranging from King Charles I nightshirt, Kate Middleton’s see-through fashion show dress to Princess Diana’s couture velvet ‘Travolta’ gown, which she wore to dance at the White House.
Auction: Tuesday 3rd December at 2pm. Viewing: Sunday 1st December 12-4pm, Monday 2nd December 9-5.30pm, Tuesday 3rd December 9-11am. www.kerrytaylorauctions.com. 00 44 (0)208 676 4600