Princess Diana’s Famous Blue Velvet Gown and other apparel up for Auction December 9 in London at Kerry Taylor Auctions


Princess Diana dances with John Travolta
White House dinner, Washington DC, America – 09 Nov 1985
Previously unseen photos of Princess Diana dancing with a host of stars at a White House dinner in 1985 have emerged. At the event the late Princess famously showed off her dance moves with Saturday Night Fever king John Travolta. However, now new images reveal that the then 24-year-old royal also took to the dance floor with a number of other famous faces. This includes Clint Eastwood, Tom Selleck and United States President Ronald Reagan. For the dinner Diana wore a now famous Victor Edelstein gown, which sold earlier this year for £240,000.

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 attends choral concert at the Royal Academy of Music London January 1986

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.

Designer for a Princess: Yuki Torimaru

Princess Diana also wore the gown to a Gala Premiere at the London Coliseum in 1990.  A Yuki Japanese Designed Mid Blue Evening Dress.


Princess Diana wearing his stunning sapphire blue silk gown on a visit to Japan for a dinner with Emperor Hirohito in May 1986


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.

Prince Charles wears a black tuxedo and Princess Diana wears an elegant blue gown with a matching headband during a visit to Japan.  Stylist Yuki prepared Princess Diana for the evening out. May 12, 1986 in 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.



Up For Auction: Princess Diana’s Ivory Silk Moss Emanuel Gown worn for The Gulf States Tour!

The rare Emanuel ivory silk moss crêpe evening gown, worn for an Official Visit to Bahrain on November, 16th, 1986.

Princess Diana’s couture and rare Emanuel ivory silk moss crêpe evening gown, worn for an Official visit to Bahrain, November, 16th, 1986. labelled Emanuel Special, the draped bodice panel, leg o’ mutton sleeves and cockade to one shoulder applied with floret’s formed from crystals, sequins and glass beads, embroidered by Hand & Lock (who also embroidered her bridal veil), bust 81-86cm, 32-34in; together with a letter from Elizabeth Emanuel confirming that this dress was a one-off, commissioned by Princess Diana for the 1986 Gulf tour, a six-day tour of the Arabian Gulf States in November 1986, when the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The Princess dressed modestly throughout in recognition of the culture and customs of their hosts, although she did not cover her head or neck.

Princess Diana was invited to King Fahd of Saudi Arabia’s palace, a rare honour for a woman, although she was not allowed to dine with the men. In Oman, the Sultan presented Diana with jewels and Prince Charles with an Aston Martin sports car. In Bahrain, ignoring protocols the Emir met the Royal couple from the plane himself and upon arrival at the palace, their path was strewn with jasmine flowers whilst young girls danced in their honour. In the afternoon they were taken for a trip on the Emir’s luxurious yacht. In the evening a lavish banquet was held where Princess Diana wore this sparkling ivory crepe gown, accessorised by the glittering Spencer tiara, diamond and pearl droplet earrings.

The Emir later re-counted with delight, a conversation with the Princess, who had asked him what he would think if his son were to marry a tall, blonde English woman? He replied that he would be very jealous!

For a film clip of the Princess wearing this dress see https://youtu.be/ZdU1nKqumhU

Provenance: Purchased by the vendor from the Chameleon second-hand shop in Hereford in 1994 where she worked as a part time assistant. She had intended to wear it to a hunt ball, but never did, and instead it remained unworn, packed away in a box and consequently is in excellent condition. It was only after seeing press footage in recent years that she realised the significance of the gown stored in her bedroom. She recalls that this fabulous dress was delivered to the shop along with a group of Princess Diana’s more mundane daywear and suits by the housekeeper of the nearby Mynde Park estate.

The chatelaine of Mynde Park was Caroline Twiston-Davies (née Habord-Hammon), a childhood friend of the Princess of Wales, who had married Audley Twiston-Davies of Mynde Park in February 1985 – a year before this dress was made. Princes Diana was a regular guest at the Estate, with a cottage in the grounds specially reserved for her use. In recognition of their long friendship Princess Diana became godmother to the Twiston-Davies’ daughter, Antonia.

For more information: Kerry Taylor Auctions, London, England.

Princess Diana’s Taroni Silk Catherine Walker Cocktail Dress up for auction on June 18, 2018 in London

A Catherine Walker couture beaded blue-grey Taroni silk cocktail dress, similar to the one worn by Princess Diana in 1997, labelled, beaded and embroidered in high relief with roses and scattered petals in silver threads, the motifs at the bodice edge further encrusted with diamanté, bust 86cm, 34in Princess Diana wore a similar cocktail dress to a London gala preview for the auction of her dresses, 2nd June, 1997.

The designer – the late Catherine Walker – described her approach ‘I always try to give my embroidery a three-dimensional quality not only by tilting the image in perspective, but also with the texture itself. Here the bugle beads and diamanté are so dense that they rise from the surface of the fabric like floret’s made of sugar’. Very few of these dresses were produced. Although part of the main collection, Mr Said Cyrus Ismail of Catherine Walker recalls that there may have been just two. The dress goes to auction on 18 June 2018 at Kerry Taylor Auction House in London.