This dress belonging to Princess Diana made history – and now it’s up for auction

The dress from Princess Diana’s last ever portrait is going on auction at Sotheby’s

Diana's Edelstein dress was from the same designer who made the iconic "Travolta dress"
(Image credit: Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images )

A dress rich in history that belonged to Princess Diana is being auctioned by Sotheby’s New York. The item, which carries an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000, is a strapless evening dress in Infanta style by Victor Edelstein. It was the dress worn by the late Princess of Wales in what would become her final ever portrait.

A true piece of royal – and fashion - history is going on auction at Sotheby’s New York.

Princess Diana’s Infanta gown was designed by Edelstein for his Autumn 1989 collection. The ball dress is crafted from deep aubergine silk velvet, with a tulip-shaped stiffened skirt, augmented by three paste buttons at the back.

The dress appeared in several high-profile memories of the late Princess.

Princess Diana's Edelstein dress could fetch $120,000 at auction

(Image credit: Sotheby's )

In 1991, British Portraitist Douglas Hardinge Anderson depicted Diana in the dress and imagined it against an outdoor backdrop. The painted portrait currently sits on the walls of the Royal Marsden Hospital Fund, an organization for which Diana was President.

In 1997, Diana would wear the stunning velvet dress in an editorial spread photographed by Mario Testino. These shots would prove to be the last official portrait of her before her untimely death.

Princess Diana's Edelstein gown was immortalized in a commemorative doll of the princess

(Image credit: Sotheby's )

"Among her many lasting influences, Princess Diana was revered for her effortless sense of style, which is perhaps best captured by this sleek and sophisticated ball gown designed by world-renowned Victor Edelstein," Christina Prescott-Walker, Sotheby's Global Director of Art and Objects, said in a statement to Town & Country. "Epitomizing her timeless grace and elegance, the gown was selected for Diana’s wardrobe and forever immortalized in her official portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1991."

The history of the dress is even more important than first thought. Not only was it the dress worn on Diana’s commemorative doll and in her final portrait, but it’s also symbolic of Diana’s emergence as a style icon.

In the early 1980s, Anna Harvey, deputy editor of Vogue at the time, began advising the Princess of Wales on her wardrobe and style. Anne suggested working with Victor Edelstein, who at the time was producing high-end couture for noteworthy clients, after working a few years with the prestigious Christian Dior atelier in London.

Princess Diana's purple Edelstein dress up close

(Image credit: Sotheby's)

Victor went on to design dresses for Princess Diana for over a decade, from 1982 to 1993. Looking back on this time, Edelstein recounts, "When I started designing for her she was just starting to move away from the first period of clothes – what I think were rather like little girl’s clothes made bigger. Her style became more sleek and sophisticated, and more grown up."

In fact, Victor designed some of Diana's most notable and recognizable looks. Among these looks was the iconic midnight blue velvet gown, now nicknamed the “Travolta Dress” after Diana famously danced with John Travolta in 1985 during her visit to the White House.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

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