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Princess Diana’s Fashion: The Timeless Style Icon Still Reigns Supreme

27 years since Lady Di’s death, the world still clutches on to her stylish bravura in Princess Diana's Elegance & A Royal Collection.

June 19, 2024

Princess Diana's fashion sense continues to captivate and inspire, transcending generations and trends. From meticulously recreated workout outfits on TikTok to designer collections drawing inspiration from her iconic looks, Diana's style remains as relevant today as it was during her lifetime.

The resurgence of interest in her story, fueled by films like "Spencer" and series like "The Crown," has introduced her to a new generation of admirers who are eager to emulate her effortless elegance.

This enduring fascination with Princess Diana's style was palpable in our recent auction, where her Jacques Azagury-designed black and blue evening dress fetched a record-breaking $1.14 million, becoming the most expensive dress worn by Diana ever sold at auction. This stunning gown, adorned with celestial motifs, is just one example of the many iconic pieces that have graced our auction block, each carrying a piece of history and a testament to Diana's enduring influence.

The Evolution of a Style Icon

Diana's style was not static; it evolved alongside her personal journey. As she grew in confidence and independence, her fashion choices became bolder and more daring. Her early adherence to royal protocol gave way to a more personal and expressive style that reflected her individuality.

The Princess of Wales effortlessly blended streetwear, athleisure, and high fashion, creating looks that were both accessible and aspirational. Her signature oversized sweatshirts, cycling shorts, and chunky sneakers have become synonymous with her off-duty style and are now being embraced by a new generation of fashion enthusiasts. These very pieces, once worn by the princess herself, have found new homes through our auctions, connecting fans with tangible pieces of her legacy. For instance, our past auctions have featured her iconic Victor Edelstein blue velvet gown and the elegant Bruce Oldfield evening gown, worn during her official visit to Italy in 1985.

A Modern Muse

Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok are abuzz with tributes to Diana's style. Influencers and fashion enthusiasts alike are recreating her iconic looks, sharing tutorials, and sourcing vintage pieces inspired by her wardrobe. The "Old Money" aesthetic, which celebrates classic preppy styles and vintage pieces, has found a muse in Diana, whose Sloane Ranger roots and effortless elegance perfectly embody this trend.

Even the fashion industry continues to pay homage to Diana's influence. The late Virgil Abloh, a visionary designer, cited Diana as the muse for his Off-White Spring-Summer 2018 collection, reimagining some of her most memorable off-duty looks for the modern woman. Some of Abloh's sneaker creations are currently up for bid in our Push It to the Limit–Luxury & Lifestyle: A Rick Ross Auction.

A Symbol of Empowerment

Diana's fashion choices were not merely about aesthetics; they were a form of self-expression and empowerment. Pieces like the "revenge dress" and the iconic black sheep sweater became symbols of her defiance and individuality. They resonated with women who saw in Diana a reflection of their own struggles and triumphs. At Julien's Auctions, we've had the privilege of offering some of these empowering pieces, including the elegant Caroline Charles plaid suits and velvet ensembles that Diana favored in the 1980s.

Lot # 1
A cream-colored wool pleated midlength skirt owned by Princess Diana and designed by Catherine Walker for her clothing label The Chelsea Design Company. The images of Diana wearing this skirt appear to match photographs taken on December 14, 1983, at Kensington Palace with then Prince Charles and Prince William; Diana was photographed again in what appears wearing this skirt arriving at Aberdeen Airport in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 14th March 1986.

A low-waisted cream wool pleated skirt designed by Catherine Walker for her clothing label Chelsea Design Co., located on Sydney Street in London. The skirt is lined with pearl-colored silk with a side button closure and blind snaps at the waist to hip. There is a Chelsea Design Co. label sewn at the interior waistband no size tag is present.

Princess Diana began wearing Catherine Walker's designs in 1981 while pregnant with Prince William. Following her pregnancy she commissioned Walker for tailored garments, specifically double-breasted outerwear. Walker's designs encapsulated, which she writes in her memoir, "a mix of French cut and English sentiment." Her streamlined silhouette mimicked military-style garments and tailoring for clean lines preferred by the Princess of Wales.

Comes with book Diana Her Latest Fashions (Text by Alison Janaway), with photos of Diana wearing what appears to be this The Chelsea Design Co. pleated cream skirt.

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Princess Diana

Lot #2
A cream and red lacquered straw wide-brim hat attributed to Royal milliner Philip Somerville for Princess Diana, photographed wearing at a Garter ceremony and while on a Royal Tour in Australia in 1985.

The wide-brim straw hat is lacquered with a cream dome and red wide brim. The crown of the hat has a cream straw dome and is accented with three Calla Lilies, a small bouquet sewn at the right side of the hat, contrasts nicely against the red wide brim.

Somerville recalls how Princess Diana wore hats well and would often advise the princess on wearing wide-brim hats because of her height and poise. The designer even encouraged her to wear bolder colors and would often contrast the vibrant hues for the princess’ outfit to make a strong statement.

Diana wore this particular style hat with Jan Vanvelden’s red full-length coat. Vanvelden’s designs often featured Dutch-style collars. These collars were a popular style choice for the princess who wore Vanvelden’s designs throughout both her pregnancies. She even had the designer alter her maternity wardrobe so she could continue wearing the casual designs post-pregnancy. Diana also requested Somerville to create hat designs that could be altered so she could wear them multiple times and in multiple different ways.

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Princess Diana

Lot #7
A navy blue silk blouse designed by Victor Edelstein belonging to Princess Diana. Images of Princess Diana wearing this blouse appear to match photographs taken on November 29, 1988, in Barnet, London, and December 23, 1990, in Sandringham.

A navy silk button-up blouse with lavalier designed by Victor Edelstein. The blouse features a square pleat placket with a hidden button-up closure. Other design features include French cuffs and bishop-style sleeves that gather slightly at the shoulder for a slight lift. A Victor Edelstein label is sewn at the interior neckline with a garment content label sewn at the interior side seam reading, " 100% silk, Made in England."

Princess Diana wore designs and garments multiple times, This blouse for instance, appears to match photographs taken on November of 1988 while in Barnet North London visiting the Relate Marriage Guidance Centre wearing a double-breasted military style pink wool coat and black pleated mid-length skirt. This blouse again appears to match images of her wearing a Franco Moschino hounds tooth tweed suit with a lavlier tie-neck blouse in Sandringham on December 23, 1990, for a public walkabout with her children Prince William and Harry as well as various members of the royal family.

Lot comes with 40th Birthday Prince of Wales commemorative stamp of Diana wearing the blouse.

Link to images available upon request.

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Princess Diana

Lot #12
A Catherine Walker two-piece yellow and navy skirt suit belonging to Princess Diana, photographed wearing November 8, 1989, in Hong Kong during a visit to Tamar, a British Forces shore base (day three of her visit), and for the opening of a Red Cross in Hong Kong; in London on February 14, 1990; and in London on June 15, 1991 at Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour Celebrations.

A custom single-breasted bi-color yellow and navy skirt suit designed by Catherine Walker. The suit consists of a single-breasted blazer with a high-notch collar lapel and gold-tone buttons and a straight navy pencil skirt hemmed below the knee. Both the jacket and skirt are lined and have Catherine Walker labels present.

Princess Diana in the late eighties, and early nineties opted for a streamlined, executive look that was feminine, sharp and framed her in a powerful light. Catherine Walker would often use navy and pastels with her suit designs to make the suit designs softer.

Princess Diana wore the suit when she gave a speech and awarded the Gopaul family the award for "Family of the Year" in London, on February 14, 1990.

Link to image available upon request.

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Lot #23
A navy blue silk velvet cocktail dress belonging to Princess Diana designed by Catherine Walker for her clothing label The Chelsea Design Company. Walker's label The Chelsea Design Co. started in 1982 until 1988 when the label changed to Walker's name.

A long-sleeve navy blue silk velvet cocktail dress with a high neckline. The dress is fully lined in black silk with a Catherine Walker Chelsea Design Co. label sewn at the interior neckline. The dress has a blind zip closure at the back of the dress in addition to zip closures at each sleeve wrist for a close fit.

Princess Diana began wearing Catherine Walker's designs in 1981 while pregnant with Prince William. Following her pregnancy she commissioned Walker for tailored garments, specifically double-breasted outerwear. Walker's designs encapsulated, which she writes in her memoir, "a mix of French cut and English sentiment." Her streamlined silhouette mimicked military-style garments and tailoring for clean lines preferred by the Princess of Wales.

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Princess Diana

Lot #17
A Caroline Charles dark purple cotton velvet evening gown belonging to Princess Diana.

A floor-length cotton velvet evening gown with a demure neckline and small v-cut at the bust. The wide neckline extends off the shoulder, a neckline Princess Diana often wore and preferred. The design is statuesque with a fitted boned bodice that remains fitted at the hips with the skirt going into an a-line shape past the the hips. Charles's signature accent of silk rope piping is featured at the neckline, another luxury of this gown is that it is lined with a matching purple fabric. The dress has a Caroline Charles label and is marked a UK size 12 with a hidden zip closure that goes up the back of the gown.

Princess Diana became a client of Caroline Charles in the early 1980s where she wore numerous plaid and velvet ensembles as well as the designer's popular coat dresses. The designer began her career working with Mary Quant in the 60s and went on to start her label in 1963.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this item will benefit Muscular Dystrophy UK.

Size Tag: U.K. 12, EUR 38, U.S.A. 8 Bust: 36 inches Waist: 28 inches Hips: 36 inches Length 52 inches

PROVENANCE From A Private Collection

Princess Diana

A Royal Collection

The legacy of Princess Diana's style lives on, not just in photographs and memories, but in the very garments she once wore. Julien's Auctions is proud to present "Princess Diana's Elegance & A Royal Collection," an exclusive auction featuring an array of her iconic fashions and personal items -- the biggest collection of Diana fashions to hit the auction block in 25 years.

Currently up for bid are some of Diana's most treasured accessories, including her iconic handbags and shoes from designers like Salvatore Ferragamo and Charles Jourdan. You'll also find pieces from Catherine Walker, one of Diana's favorite designers, including a yellow suit and navy skirt worn during her 1989 Hong Kong royal tour.

This is your chance to own a piece of history, to connect with the enduring spirit of the People's Princess, and to celebrate a fashion legacy that continues to inspire and empower.

Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of royal history. Register now for "Princess Diana's Elegance & A Royal Collection" and let your bids reflect the timeless elegance and enduring impact of Princess Diana.

a picture of a woman holding a baby with the date june 1982

PRINCESS DIANA'S ELEGANCE &

A ROYAL COLLECTION

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