Princess Diana’s iconic purple velvet dress sold at auction on Friday for $600,000 (approximately Rs 4.9 crore). The dress fetched more than five times its estimated value, making it the most expensive royal family dress to go under the hammer. The auction was organized by Sotheby’s in New York.
The Princess of Wales wore the dress in an official royal portrait in 1991 and at a Vanity Fair photo shoot in 1997. According to the description of the iconic dress on Sotheby’s website, it is “a dramatic ballgown, 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, completed with three adhesive buttons at the back, designed by Victor Edelstein”.
The dress’s estimated price on the auction house’s website is $80,000-$120,000. During Friday’s auction, four bidders competed for the dress, after which it eventually sold for $604,800 including fees, Forbes reported, citing Sotheby’s.
The dress was designed by British designer Victor Edelstein as part of his fall 1989 collection. The original design sketch of the dress had an outline of a tiara, suggesting it could have been made especially for Princess Diana.
Victor Edelstein was Princess Diana’s fashion designer who designed dresses for her from 1982 to 1993.
The purple dress first sold at auction in 1997 for $24,150. It was one of 79 cocktail and evening dresses that the princess decided to auction that year. Proceeds went to the AIDS Crisis Trust and the Royal Marsden Hospital, according to Vanity Fair.
According to Cynthia Houlton, a senior vice president and global head of fashion and accessories at Sotheby’s, the dress represents the fashion of the late 1980s. “This dress is very similar in some ways to dresses that would have been worn 100 years ago, and there is a version of this dress that is exactly the same today,” she told the outlet.
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