Princess Diana’s famous velvet gowns by Victor Edelstein are up for sale at Sotheby’s

written by Jackie Palumbo, CNN

She may not be as famous as turning her head “revenge dress” But the eggplant-colored silk velvet gown remains one of Princess Diana’s most iconic dresses. The late Queen wore it for an official royal photo in 1991 and an intimate Vanity Fair spread in 1997, just before her death.

For the first time in more than 25 years, the dress will be auctioned and is expected to fetch up to $120,000 at Sotheby’s in New York later this month.

Princess Diana’s eggplant velvet dress has gone on sale for the first time in 25 years. credit: Sotheby’s

Designed by fashion designer Victor Edelstein, the strapless number features a sculpted sweetheart neckline and a tulip-shaped skirt. It last sold for $24,150 in 1997, during a Christie’s charity auction of 79 dresses donated by Diana. Combined sales amounted to $3.25 million, benefiting AIDS and cancer organizations including the Royal Marsden Hospital, where she was President for eight years.

In the Vanity Fair story, photographed by Mario Testino, the magazine focused on the auction, calling her decision to sell the dresses “a powerful symbol of her life changing” in the wake of her high-profile divorce from Prince Charles, as she was “giving up a life that never had.”

It was designed by Victor Edelstein and was part of his Fall 1989 collection.

It was designed by Victor Edelstein and was part of his Fall 1989 collection. credit: Sotheby’s

But the Princess of Wales was more reserved in discussing her decision to sell the clothes, saying only that it was “a wrench to give away these beautiful dresses”. “However, I’m so glad that others can now share the joy I’ve been wearing,” she told the magazine.

Mario Testino (pictured) portrayed Princess Diana in her death-summer summer dress.

Mario Testino (pictured) portrayed Princess Diana in her death-summer summer dress. credit: MJ Kim/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

The dark purple gown was part of Edelstein’s Fall 1989 collection, though he’s designed looks tailored to the princess for more than a decade, according to Sotheby’s. She appeared in a painting by Douglas Harding Anderson in 1991, as well as a Franklin Mint doll in 1998. Edelstein was also behind Diana’s navy blue “Travolta dress” — the long velvet dress in which she famously danced with the actor while at the White House — that It was sold for £264,000 ($347,000) in 2019 to charity after failing to sell at auction.

This Edelstein dress will be part of Sotheby’s “The One” auction on January 27 and features other notable fashion and entertainment items, including former President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 birthday ticket — in which Marilyn Monroe sang it — and Miami Heat’s LeBron James. Jersey from the 2013 NBA Finals.

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