LONDON (CNN) — Sumptuous velvet, delicate sequins, intricate beading: They are dresses fit for a princess — Princess Diana, that is — and if you’ve got a big pocketbook (with a designer label, naturally), they could be yours.
Ten dresses worn by the late Princess of Wales are to go under the hammer at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London on Tuesday.
Among the outfits up for sale is the midnight blue number Diana famously wore to dance with John Travolta at a gala dinner at the White House in November 1985.
TV footage and photographs of the princess and the Hollywood star gliding around the room to the music of “Saturday Night Fever” were seen around the world, and Travolta later described the experience as having been “like a fairytale.”
Diana also wore the “Travolta” dress, designed by Victor Edelstein, for her final portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1997. It is expected to sell for more than $300,000, with the entire collection tipped to make more than $1 million.
Auctioneer Kerry Taylor told CNN putting a price on such items was “difficult,” but that their high profile added value.
“You can look at what they sold for, you can look at how simple the thing is,” she explained. “If it was worn on a state occasion, or if it was for a private dinner, are there photographs of the princess wearing it, are there film reels of the princess wearing it, and is there a human story that adds to it?”
For example, as Taylor points out, a bottle green velvet evening dress, also by Victor Edelstein, bears what could be the traces of a young prince: “what looks like a little boy’s (or little child’s) handprint — sticky fingerprints on the fabric.”
Also included in the sale are dresses by some of Diana’s other favorite designers — six by Catherine Walker, including the beaded black dress she wore for Vanity Fair’s 1997 photoshoot by Mario Testino, and the black Bruce Oldfield gown she wore to the gala opening of “Les Miserables” in October 1985, and for another official portrait by Snowdon.
The outfits were originally sold in a charity auction at Christie’s in New York in June 1997, just months before Diana’s death in a Paris car crash in August that year. Kerry says that despite the passing of the years, the princess remains hugely popular.
“Diana was different,” she said. “She was very much a ‘people’s princess’ and the ups and downs of her life, her loves, people followed them avidly. I think there will always be a special place in people’s hearts for Diana.”
Taylor also auctioned off the skimpy mesh dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge — then known as Kate Middleton — during a fashion show at the University of St Andrews, at which she is reputed to have attracted the attentions of her future husband, Prince William.