Diana's Long-Lost Dress Fetches a Stylish $280,000
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Diana's Long-Lost Dress Fetches a Stylish $280,000

London : United Kingdom | Jun 09, 2010 at 1:22 PM PDT
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Secrets of Princess Diana’s Wedding Gown

A revealing dress that propelled Princess Diana from a shy 19-year-old to a global fashion icon soared past expectations at a London auction Tuesday and sold for $280,000.

The black taffeta dress caught photographers by surprise when Diana wore it at her first official function in 1981 after becoming engaged to Prince Charles.

The strapless dress, and the images of it that spread around the world, caused some public unease in the U.K. But it was a clear indication of the glamour that Diana would soon bring to the royal family.

The dress, which had been expected to fetch about $73,000, was bought by a Chilean fashion museum.

And had one of the co-designers, David Emanuel, not decided recently to open up an old garbage can liner that had sat for 20 years in his garage, the dress that he discovered might never have come up for sale at all.

As the royal wedding approached, Diana lost quite a bit of weight and returned the dress to have it altered. But David Emanuel and his now former wife Elizabeth decided it was easier to make another, and the original was completely forgotten. It was even believed Diana might have destroyed it.

The dress was the star item Monday night among 30 lots of Diana items from the Emanuels' collection, including her wedding dress, all of them selling for far more than their estimates.

"The high prices that we saw today reflect the enduring love affair with Princess Diana, who was not only a style icon and beautiful princess, but a humanitarian who touched the lives of so many people," the auctioneer, Kerry Taylor, was quoted as saying by the BBC.

The owner of the Chilean museum, Jorge Yarur, told Taylor that after his death, the dress and other Diana items he owns will be donated to Kensington Palace, Diana's London home.

"It's the perfect ending to a perfect sale,"

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Princess Diana
Lady Diana Spencer, then-fiancee of Prince Charles, wore the strapless gown to a charity event in London on March 9, 1981.
hmalik is based in Rāwalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, and is an Anchor for Allvoices.
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