By Maria Bregman
Princess Diana’s style is legendary, and her wardrobe continues to captivate new generations of admirers. From her iconic wedding dress to her casual gym outfits, every piece she wore has a story behind it. And now, one of her most memorable garments is going under the hammer, with a hefty price tag attached.
The item in question is a ruff-collared, pale pink blouse that Diana wore in a 1981 engagement portrait with Prince Charles, taken by Lord Snowdon. The portrait was widely published in magazines and newspapers, announcing the royal couple’s impending nuptials to the world. The blouse, which features a satin ribbon tied in a bow under the collar, was designed by Elizabeth and David Emanuel, the same duo who famously created Diana’s wedding dress.
The blouse has a surprising origin story, as Elizabeth Emanuel revealed in her book “A Dress for Diana.” The fabric of the blouse was salvaged from a dress that had been damaged when a client left a mascara stain on the skirt while trying it on. The Emanuels decided to use the remaining material to make a blouse, which they hung on a rack in their studio. When Diana visited them to discuss her wedding dress, she spotted the blouse and fell in love with it. She asked to borrow it for the engagement portrait, and the rest is history.
The blouse was returned to the Emanuels after the photo shoot, and they kept it until 2010, when they sold it to a private collector. The blouse was then displayed at Kensington Palace from 2017 to 2019, as part of an exhibition of Diana’s clothes. Now, the blouse is going to be auctioned by Julien’s Auctions, a Beverly Hills auction house that specializes in celebrity memorabilia. The blouse is expected to fetch between $80,000 and $100,000, according to the auction house’s estimate.
The blouse is not the only piece of Diana’s clothing that will be offered at the auction, which will take place between December 14 and December 17. Another outfit that Diana wore in public twice, an evening dress with a black velvet bodice embroidered with stars and a blue skirt, is also up for grabs, with an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. The dress, which was designed by Murray Arbeid, was worn by Diana at a gala dinner in 1986 and at a film premiere in 1990.
The auction will also feature other items that belonged to or were worn by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, such as Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Judy Garland. Among the highlights are a yellow wool Givenchy coat worn by Hepburn in the 1963 movie “Charade,” a carriage clock owned by Monroe, a pair of ruby slippers worn by Garland in “The Wizard of Oz,” and a diamond ring given by Taylor to her fifth husband Richard Burton.
The auction is a rare opportunity for collectors and fans to own a piece of history, and to celebrate the enduring legacy and influence of Princess Diana, who is widely regarded as one of the most stylish and beloved figures of the 20th century.