Princess Diana’s famous purple Victor Edelstein dress, worn for a series of portraits in 1991, has sold for a record sum at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. The gown eventually went for over five times its estimated price of $80,000-$120,000 (£65,000-£97,000) after a five minute bidding war between four different bidders last Friday.
The auction, named The One, is described by Sotheby’s as “an auction showcasing an unprecedented selection of the finest products of human achievement in history, which together tell a story of excellence in craft, artistry and endeavour – from the great civilizations of antiquity to the fashion and entertainment worlds of today”.
In 2019 a different Victor Edelstein gown, worn by the late Princess of Wales when she danced with John Travolta at the White House in 1985, sold at auction for $347,000 (£281,000), however this dress has overtaken that record.
The gown is described for the auction as: “A dramatic ball dress, in ‘Infanta’-style, from the Collection of Diana, Princess of Wales.
“A strapless, evening dress of deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back.”
Diana wore several Victor Edelstein designs over the years, as his work was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
This particular purple gown was part of his 1989 Autumn/Winter runway collection.
The British designer also dressed other members of the Royal Family such as the Duchess of Kent, Princess Michael of Kent, and the Countess of Snowdon, as well as the former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown.
Christina Prescott-Walker, Sotheby’s global director of art and objects, said: “Few names are as resonant as Princess Diana’s, and even fewer biographies are revisited with the same frequency.
“While each account of her life has a unique focus and tone, one element is constant: Princess Diana was, and remains, a fashion icon. Even decades after her tragic passing, her style and attire inspire.”
According to the auction house, the dress – which previously sold at a 1997 auction to a private owner – has only been worn a handful of times.
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