Princess Diana’s engagement blouse is predicted to be sold at auction for an estimated $100,000.
One of the Princess of Wales’s most iconic garments, the pale pink blouse will reportedly be sold by the auction house, Julien’s Auctions, which estimates that it will sell between $80,000 and $100,000.
Diana wore the blouse in the iconic engagement portrait photographed by Lord Snowden, Princess Margaret’s ex-husband, who she was married to between 1960 and 1978. The portrait was taken after King Charles proposed to Diana in 1981.
According to the National Portrait Gallery, the photo was published in Vogue at the same time as the engagement announcement in February of that year.
The top – a pink, silk blouse with a ruffled collar reportedly designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel – was one of many of the princess’s items on display at Kensington Palace from 2017 to 2019 for the “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibition.
In a video for “Diana: Her Fashion Story,” Elizabeth explained that the blouse only exists because of a series of sewing mistakes that led to eventual happy accidents. She said, “A client had ordered a very pale pink dress, and as she took it off, she got mascara all over it, all over the hem.”
Left with little to no choice, she and David opted to create an entirely new skirt instead of repairing the old one. However, they hadn’t discarded the stained skirt and were struck with a novel idea on how to salvage it for good.
“We chopped off the bit with the black mascara, and it looked pretty lonely,” Elizabeth continued. “So we thought we better make a blouse to go with it.”
They ultimately crafted the blouse from the spare material, and Diana found herself gravitating towards the top after Vogue editors introduced her to the item while showing her a variety of outfits to kickstart her royal style. In her 2006 book A Dress for Diana, Elizabeth wrote that the princess “fell in love with” the blouse.
For the Emanuels, one client’s mascara stain ended up being life-changing, with Diana selecting them to design her iconic puffy-sleeved wedding dress with a 25-foot-long train.
“So actually if that client hadn’t got mascara all over it, we wouldn’t have made the blouse,” Elizabeth added in the video, speaking about the top’s origin. “Who knows, we might not have met the princess. It’s all down to that bit of mascara.”
On 17 December, the blouse as well as pieces from Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, and other 20th-century style icons, will be among the garments sold for the auction house’s TCM Hollywood Legends auction.
So far, Diana’s blouse has one bid starting at $80,000, but the auction house predicts that the blouse will ultimately sell for a much higher price. In the past, Diana’s items have been lucrative for the auction house.
As recent as September of this year, three of Diana’s custom-made gowns reportedly sold for $1.6m during another Julien’s Auctions and TCM’s “Legends: Hollywood and Royalty” event. One gown initially was estimated to sell for $60,000 selling but ultimately sold for a jaw-dropping $508,000, according to Business Insider.