Ten of some of the most iconic dresses, worn by Princess Diana, are being auctioned off today, and the collection is expected to raise nearly £1 million. Among the dresses up for sale is a Catherine Walker pink sequined ivory crepe gown, which the Princess wore on a state visit to Brazil in 1991, and the famous Victor Edelstein gown in which the late Princess wore when she danced with John Travolta at a White House state dinner in the 1980s.
Kerry Taylor Auctions, who are holding the auction, told AFP, that the collection, due to go under the hammer this afternoon, is believed to be worth at least £600,000, but could fetch around £1 million.
A spokesperson for the auction house said that the collection contained some of the “most important and iconic” dresses worn by Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.
The spokesperson said: “Some of the gowns were worn for official state visits to Austria, Australia, Brazil, India, South Korea and the United States of America. Diana was photographed wearing them by not only by the paparazzi, but by some of the leading photographers of the day – including Mario Testino and Lord Snowdon.”
Kerry Taylor Auctions added: “These elegant couture creations were made by some of her favourite designers – Zandra Rhodes, Catherine Walker, Bruce Oldfield and Victor Edelstein.
One of them, a dark green velvet dinner gown, has what appears to be the print of a small hand on the skirt — possibly that of a young prince?”
The dresses were originally owned by an American lady – Maureen Rorech Dunkel, who purchased the collection as a long-term investment, when Diana herself sold them off to raise money, after her divorce from Prince Charles, when her son, Prince William suggested it. But after Diana’s death in 1997, Dunkel decided that she would exhibit them to raise money for good causes.
An anonymous seller now owns the dresses and they will be auctioned off later today.
The Catherine Walker Mughal-inspired embroidered pink silk evening gown and bolero could fetch £120,000
A Walker black velvet and beaded evening gown, which Diana was photographed in by Mario Testino for a Vanity Fair photoshoot just a few months before she died, is also part of the collection with a guide price of £50,000 to £70,000.
Auctioneer Kerry Taylor said: “It’s probably the last time that these 10 Diana dresses will be seen together because after the auction obviously they’ll probably be scattered across the world. In a way it’s like a little history of Diana’s life through her clothes.”
For more information, visit Kerry Taylor Auctions. The auction starts at 3pm today.