Diana's Dresses: the auction dress


Diana's life in clothes is an endless fascination. Her style was scrutinised throughout her life, she was a style icon like no other and now, as the twentieth anniversary of her death approaches, her story is being told in twenty five famous outfits at the Kensington Palace exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story. And one of the best known of the dresses on display is one that was worn by the princess at a major event in the months before her death. The gown that Diana chose to watch dozens of her outfits auctioned for charity in the summer of 1997 is as iconic as any other. Here's Diana, the Auction Dress.




For one of the biggest moments of her post royal life, Diana turned to a designer who had been a trusted support throughout her marriage, Catherine Walker. The world was watching as the princess arrived at Christie's in New York in June 1997 to see 79 of her dresses auctioned for charity. Diana chose a design in keeping with her new, sleeker image. The beaded, sleeveless cocktail dress had thin straps, a fitted silhouette and the shorter skirt Diana had favoured in the years since her separation and divorce.

White with flowers in gold and blue, it immediately became one of Diana's most famous looks. In part, that's to do with where it was worn. This was the dress Diana chose as those famous gowns, so associated with her and her life as the most photographed woman in the world, went under the hammer and out of her life. In part, it's to do with the dress which is among the best she ever wore. It takes its place alongside many of those she let go on that balmy night in New York twenty years ago as her life in fashion is celebrated at Kensington Palace. The auction dress ended up as an iconic piece that could match any of those others for historical impact.

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