A deep purple strapless gown designed by Victor Edelstein and worn by Princess Diana recently sold for more than six times its estimate at a Sotheby’s auction.
A buyer went well past the high estimate of $100,000, winning the 1989 dress and its tulip-shaped stiffened skirt with a bid of $480,000 ($604,800 with fees). This is a new record for a Diana dress sold at auction.
The dress had been previously sold by Christies New York on June 25, 1997, as part of a charity sale of nearly 80 dresses on behalf of the AIDS Crisis Trust and the Royal Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund.
The dress, which was designed for Diana and also owned by her, was worn by the princess in two photographs and was also featured in a painting of her.
An official portrait was taken by Antony Armstrong-Jones, the first Earl of Snowdon in 1991, and was widely published in magazines like Life and Hello. That same year, British painter Douglas Hardinge Anderson depicted Diana in the gown in a namesake artwork. The painting now hangs at the Royal Marsden Hospital where Diana visited and served as president.
Finally, in 1997, Diana wore the dress as part of a photoshoot with photographer Mario Testino for a Vanity Fair cover story. It took place only five months before her death. Several of those photographs were also included in an exhibition at Kensington Palace in 2005.