Princess Diana’s Katherine Cusack evening gown, Autumn-Winter 1985-86 collection. labelled, of midnight-blue velvet with pleats to bodice and skirt, the graduated collar couched and embroidered in blue silk cord, padded shoulders, fastening by self-coloured buttons and loops from neck to hem, bust 92cm, 36in The designer Katherine Cusack confirms that this dress was a one-off made for the Princess of Wales. Harvey Nicholls had made a display of her collection of entirely black velvet dresses along the stairway of the shop in the Autumn of 1986, which the Princess saw and liked. She placed an order for this dress, stipulating it had to be in midnight blue (the only example to be made in this colour), via her friend and Vogue editor Anna Harvey, who requested it be made in a UK size 12. The Princess was photographed wearing this gown to attend a choral concert at the Royal Academy of Music, January 1986. The visit was reported in Majesty Magazine, 11th March 1986, which also stated that the sapphire choker and earrings the Princess wore to accessorise the dress were a ‘wedding gift from Saudi Arabia’.
Princess Diana’s Catherine Walker navy wool day dress, circa 1989. labelled ‘Catherine Walker, The Chelsea Design Company’, close-fitting with broad, shaped ivory gabardine collar, two large buttons to front closure and each cuff, band of pleats to hem, lined in silk, bust 92cm, 36in Provenance: this dress comes from the same collection as lot 238, all of which were fully documented Princess Diana photographed pieces. Although we have not yet discovered an image of the Princess wearing this gown, the quality of the materials and the hand-finishing of the buttonholes are commensurate with a special commission. It was probably worn for private, non-official engagements, hence the lack of supporting photographs. The Catherine Walker Archive does not hold a complete record of Princess Diana’s commissions as they recall that they were ‘simply too numerous’. However, this model does not appear in a search of their seasonal mainstream collections, from which any of their clients could place orders. It seems reasonable to deduce therefore that this was a one-off order, made just for the Princess. However, the Princess wore the well-documented Catherine Walker blue polka-dot silk version of this dress, with identical collar, buttons and hem details, during the Royal couple’s official visit to the Gulf, March 1989, and again in May 1989 when she and the Royal family gathered to greet President Ibrahim Babangida, President of Nigeria, at Victoria Station.
It’s getting colder outside! Now you can knit your own Princess Diana Sweaters! A rare find item for those wishing to knit Diana’s Sweaters -Her three most popular! The Koala Bear Sweater, The Red Sheep Black Sheep Sweater and the Peruvian Llama Sweater. Click on images below to take you to the link in the boutique!
Some lucky person is going to look just like Princess Diana! 👸👸👸👸
Princess Diana’s Jasper Conran brushed red wool suit, 1984. labelled, the loose single breasted jacket with gilt buttons cast with anchors, round neck, gathers to shoulders, the matching skirt with four kick-pleats to the front, chest 97cm, 38in, skirt waist 71cm, 28in (2) Provenance: From the same vendor as lots 21 and 22. The Princess wore this striking scarlet ensemble for the official naming/launch ceremony of the P&O cruise liner ‘Royal Princess’, christened in her honour, on 5th November 1984. She accessorised it with a jaunty red felt beret with black headband, black blouse with bow ties, black tights, leather clutch and shoes. The Princess chose to wear it again 22nd February 1985, on a visit to Cirencester Police Station, Gloucestershire. This time she accessorised with a red felt boater, white blouse with wing collar and black bow-tie, red tights, black leather clutch and shoes. By changing the hat and blouse she managed to achieve a totally new look on each occasion. Mr Jasper Conran has confirmed that this ensemble was a one-off design, made exclusively for the Princess.
Princess Diana’s Elizabeth Emanuel navy and white damask silk ensemble, 1986. labelled ‘Emanuel Special’, the striped silk over-coat with padded shoulders, the bodice, full sleeves and skirt with box pleats, matching white Bianchini silk under-dress with camisole-like bodice, bust 86cm, 34in (2) Provenance: From the same vendor as lots 20 and 22. Worn in Bahrain on the Royal tour of the Gulf States, November 1986. Elizabeth Emanuel confirms that this was a unique design made only for the Princess. The original Emanuel fashion sketch shows this ensemble with a simple ribbon bow belt.
Princess Diana’s Catherine Walker printed peach silk polka dot coat-dress, 1988. bearing ‘Catherine Walker for Chelsea Design Co.’ label, double-breasted, of loose cut but with slimmer fitting skirt, padded shoulders, lined in white silk, bust 97cm, 38in, waist 76cm, 30in Provenance: From the same vendor as lots 20 and 21. Mr Said Ismail of Catherine Walker recalls making a special order of this dress for Princess Diana. By removing or changing jewellery or adding a hat, this versatile dress could be worn for both formal or semi-formal occasions. Princess Diana wore this dress on four public occasions: 13th June 1988, to attend the Order of the Garter ceremony with Prince Charles, accessorised with a peach sailor bonnet with rear bow and upturned brim and single strand pearl choker. 12th July 1988, to welcome President Evren of Turkey on a State Visit, with Prince Charles, accessorised with a peach sailor bonnet and double strand pearl choker. 12th July 1989, on a visit to The Freeman Hospital, and Percy Hedley School in Newcastle Upon Tyne, accessorised with a simple white clutch bag and court shoes. 15th May 1991, for an International Spinal Research Charity event at the Langham Hilton Hotel, London, with peach leather shoes..
Karl Lagerfeld fashion sketch for a Princess Diana gown, 1984. in gouache on paper, signed and annotated ‘Karl Lagerfeld ’84, ‘HRH the Princess of Wales, simple little blue jersey dress with draped hips by KL’, 34 by 26cm, 13 1/2 by 10 1/4in; together with xerox copies of the Woman’s Own article in which it was reproduced (3) Provenance: Presented as a gift to journalist Philippa Braidwood and also reproduced in an article for ‘Woman’s Own’, October 6th, 1984. Entitled ‘My Dream is to Dress Princess Diana’, in the interview he stated, ‘The Princess is so chic, and she such beautiful bones. I would like to see her dress less romantically, in tighter clothes, to look more aggressive. But, sadly, she must wear British clothes’..
Karl Lagerfeld fashion sketch for a Princess Diana gown, 1984. in gouache on paper, signed and annotated ‘Karl Lagerfeld ’84, ‘HRH the Princess of Wales, ‘right’ brown silk dress with golden ‘luminette’ embroideries. Very high neck-line’, in original Karl Lagerfeld studio envelope; together with press clippings showing the sketch reproduced (4) Provenance: Presented as a gift to journalist Philippa Braidwood and also reproduced in an article for ‘Woman’s Own’, October 6th, 1984, entitled ‘My Dream is to Dress Princess Diana’..
Yuki Torimaru may not be as familiar as Zandra Rhodes or John Galliano, but since he settled in London in 1959 he has made a discreet and powerful influence on high-end couture – even having a retrospective at the V&A in 1973.
YUKI WAS A LITTLE KNOWN, BRITISH BORN DESIGNER IN LONDON WHEN THE PRINCESS ASKED HIM TO DO A FEW SKETCHES FOR HER UPCOMING TRIP TO JAPAN.
THE ROYAL BLUE SILK WITH UNCRUSHABLE FORTUNY PLEATS AND BUGLE BEAD PANELS AT WAIST AND YOKE MADE A BOLD STATEMENT AS SHE STEPPED OUT OF THE CAR THAT EVENING. DIANA WORE IT WITH HER SAPPHIRE HEADBAND WHICH AT THE TIME CREATED A FASHION STIR IN THE MEDIA AND FASHION WORLD.
CLOSEUP OF THE MATERIAL WITH BUGLE BEADED DETAIL AND YUKI’S SKETCH OF THE DRESS ARE BELOW AS ARE OTHER CONCEPT DRAWINGS HE DID FOR PRINCESS DIANA.
What’s bright red and white and a favorite of Princess Di’s? Why, the sheep jumper, of course. And what’s that? Glad you asked: It’s a jumper (British parlance for a pullover sweater) with rows upon rows of white sheep forming an unmistakable—once you’ve seen it—design. Oh, yes, one black sheep is always knitted into the pattern as well, though its exact position amidst the woolly flock changes from one sweater style to the next.
The sheep jumper is the creation of a pair of enterprising English pals, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, both 28. Operating from a small shop on London’s South Bank, they are partners in a sweater-making cottage industry which they’ve named Warm and Wonderful. “We always knit things we would like to wear ourselves,” says Joanna, and Sally adds, “The sheep jumper just seemed ironic, to have a sheep motif on a wool sweater.” They both insist they do not design with royalty in mind and that “by coincidence our style appeals to the sort of girl that Diana is. She has a wonderful sense of fashion, and our sweater is perfect for her casual style.”
The Princess of Wales has never visited their shop, so Muir and Osborne are not sure how she came by her sheep jumper—probably a gift, they think. But ever since Di was first photographed some two years ago wearing hers, it has been Warm and Wonderful’s hottest-selling item, particularly among London’s “Sloane Rangers,” the trendy young herd that roams in and out of the fashionable boutiques around Sloane Square. Some 500 sheep jumpers have been sold already this year at $98 per copy. Customers who don’t want to follow along sheepishly can opt for pig jumpers, frog jumpers, fish jumpers or any of a couple of dozen creatures of choice.
Muir and Osborne went into knitwear almost by accident. The daughter of Frank Muir, a distinguished British humor writer and TV quiz show personality, Sally attended a boarding school at Ascot before becoming a publicity assistant at a publishing firm. As for knitting, she says, “I just like jumpers so I started making them for myself. I learned at school. We were always knitting for the poor someplace, knitting for Calcutta, as if they needed sweaters there.”
Joanna, the daughter of a stockbroker, also became a knitter at a private girls’ school. She went to work in the drama department of Britain’s independent Granada Television (including a stint as secretary to Lord Olivier) and met her partner-to-be through Sally’s brother, a TV producer. The two girls joined forces to rent a stall at the Covent Garden market. Their offerings caught the attention of fashion editors, and four years ago Sally and Joanna went full-time with their new business. Today Sally’s home is a one-room flat above the shop, while Joanna lives around the corner in a house with her boyfriend, textbook author and musician Orlando Gough.
Muir and Osborne share in the designing, selling and bookkeeping. They still keep secret the name of the tiny mill in Yorkshire where they get their wool, but with success they no longer have time to tend to their own knitting. That’s done now on a piecework basis by 50-odd carefully chosen knitters (all women except for one man) working at home on Japanese-made, hand-operated frames. They take half a day to three weeks to turn out each garment, whose prices range from $60 to $450. Warm and Wonderful knitwear is now sold in 60 outlets in Britain, the U.S. (Macy’s and Neiman-Marcus carry them) and Japan. Actors Shelley Duvall and David Bowie are among those who have jumped for the jumpers.
“They are bright girls,” says London Times fashion correspondent Suzy Menkes of Muir and Osborne. “They make witty knits. Their most entertaining sweater was one with turkeys all over with a Christmas dinner going on in the middle. Now they are doing much more abstract designs, more texture. And that sheep sweater has been copied all over.” Indeed, according to Sally and Joanna, one of their former workers has had the effrontery to market imitation sweaters, and they are taking the case to court. After all, knocking off sheep jumpers simply isn’t cricket.