Princess Diana’s engagement portrait blouse goes up for auction

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Daring Di’s engagement portrait-worn blouse is heading to the Auction block. It is estimated to range from $80,000 to $100,000, but that could jump (the current bid is $125000).

‘I literally had one long dress, one silk shirt, one smart pair of shoes and that was it’ so Princess Diana said of the day she and Prince Charles got engaged. Sixteen years later, Diana would pass away, no longer the girl with one dress, but arguably the greatest fashion icon of the 20th century. In fact, her style legacy continues today, inspiring new generations. TikTok users recreate her outfits, while fashion fans source cult items worn by the late royal. Earlier this year, three of her gowns were sold for $1.62 million.

This week one can get the pink crepe blouse, worn by Diana for the portrait, captured by royal photographer Lord Snowdon (Princess Margaret’s husband). It is listed for sale among other unique pieces by auction house Julien’s Auctions, as part of an exclusive collaboration with Turner Classic Movies. The sale titled “Glamour, Grace and Greatness” concludes the year-end auction event and Julien’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The blouse was created by designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who would later design Princess Diana’s wedding gown.  In the book, Diana Her True Story In Her Own Words, Princess Diana recounted that “I asked Anna Harvey from Vogue, where both my sisters had worked, to come and help me out with the basic things”.  Harvey recalls in Diana Her Life In Fashion by Georgina Howell, “I don’t think she had any idea how many lovely things were out there… Her enthusiasm was contagious.”

Elizabeth Emanuel wrote in her book, A Dress for Diana, that the fashion team at Vogue had assembled a rack of clothing from a variety of designers to present to Diana.  According to Emanuel, she was trying on one of their custom-made gowns and left a black mascara stain on the skirt when taking it off.  The Emanuels salvaged the remains of the dress, using the fabric to make this blouse that found its way onto that rack of clothing presented to Diana at Vogue. Emanuel shared that “When she saw our blouse on the rack she fell in love with it, asked who had made it and was directed to us”.

The engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana was announced shortly after the photo shoot and the image, captured by Lord Snowden, was used as an official engagement photograph that was featured in the February 1981 issue of Vogue. That’s how the pink blouse became an iconic outfit (and one of Diana’s greatest fashion moments). Emanuel sold this blouse from her archive in 2010.