The Princess Diana Dress That Set Records and Hearts Aflutter

diana ballerina dress
The Princess initially donned the dress in Italy in 1985 while on a royal tour with Charles CREDIT: Jayne Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s bewitching Azagury dress twirls into the annals of auction history, fetching a staggering 11 times more than its anticipated value. This is no ordinary tale – the gown glimmered and twinkled at a prestigious Hollywood auction, raking in a staggering $1,148,080 and shattering records as the most expensive dress from Diana’s royal closet.

This mesmerising ballerina-length creation, dripping with grace, was the brainchild of Moroccan-British fashion maestro Jacques Azagury, adorned by the late Princess Diana in Florence and later at a regal event in Vancouver. The spectacle at Julien’s Auctions in Hollywood witnessed the dress surpassing all forecasts, sparking a heated bidding war with 19 bids and eventually finding a new home in the possession of a private individual, who plans to unveil the dress and its companions to the world in due course.

Remarkably, this wasn’t the first time Princess Diana’s attire turned heads in the auction world. In January, her velvet gown by Victor Edelstein caused quite a stir by raking in an impressive $604,800, breaking the previous record for the most expensive dress. The long-standing record was held by the Princess’s iconic black sheep jumper, which blazed into the auction records, fetching a breathtaking $1.143 million.

Martin Nolan, a leading figure at Julien’s Auctions, expressed his delight at the heightened interest in this historical piece. He mentioned having engaging interactions with buyers and hinted that the dress’s new owner is intending to exhibit it alongside other timeless relics linked to the Princess’s legacy.

The mesmerising aspect of this dress lies in its extraordinary journey. Initially sold at a charity auction in June 1997, a mere two months before her untimely passing, the billowing silhouette was initially purchased for $26,450 by Time Inc., who later handed it over to the New-York Historical Society. The keys to this ethereal garment were then reacquired by the very society, who went on to provide it for the auction.

The dress made its first appearance at a royal dinner hosted by the mayor of Florence during a tour, impeccably adorned by the Princess herself in April 1985. A year later, the dress twirled once again as Diana and Prince Charles graced Vancouver, with the late Princess looking resplendent as ever.

There is no denying that the Azagury dress encapsulates an era of glamour and sophistication. The black velvet bodice, bedecked with metallic embroidered stars, paired with the two-tier royal blue organza skirt, pays a vibrant tribute to the Princess’s love for dance, featuring a silhouette with 1980s sensibilities woven into the fabric.

As Martin Nolan, co-founder, and executive director of Julien’s Auctions, underscores the continuing allure of Princess Diana and her impact on the world of fashion and culture, sheer nostalgia sweeps over the realization that her legacy shall endure eternally, long after she graced our world.

The power of her enduring appeal in today’s world points to the timeless allure of the Princess and her long-lasting representation of freedom and rebellion, making the magical Azagury dress a magnificent chapter in the story of her celebrated wardrobe.

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