Princess Diana's Daring Black Dress Up for Auction

06/08/2010 at 09:30 AM ET

Anwar Hussein/WireImage

It is the dress that launched the young blushing Lady Diana Spencer onto the world as not only Prince Charles’ fiancée, but also as a budding fashion icon who dared to break the royal rules by wearing black to a formal event other than a funeral. The black taffeta gown, worn by Diana in March 1981, also put the young design team of David and Elizabeth Emanuel on the map, beginning a partnership that culminated in the princess-to-be’s much-copied wedding dress. Today, the gown–and a prototype of the fairytale bridal dress–are being auctioned off in London and estimated to fetch up to $150,000. Posing with the black dress Monday, Elizabeth Emanuel reminisced to PEOPLE of the night that the 19-year-old Diana became a front-page star as she joined Prince Charles for her first official appearance with him. “This was really a shadow of what she was to become in terms of a fashion icon,” Emanuel says. “It was the first time that people had seen her looking like a princess. Like a movie star. And grown up.” Despite there being a big political story that day, the emerging Diana “took over all of the front pages,” Emanuel recalls. Soon, it became obvious that the palace would have to confirm what the Emanuels already knew — that they were to make Diana’s wedding dress. And, the history of that creation is included in the sale going live this morning, via London’s Kerry Taylor Auctions. –Simon Perry

Joel Saget/AFP/Getty

FILED UNDER: Fashion , Royalty
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Showing 42 comments

Jon on

That’s very nice, I like Princess Diana’s Daring Black Dress!

Andie on

Really miss seeing her in all her beautiful fashions. She was absolutely gorgeous. What a shame that she is gone.

Becky Thoms on

She was just beautiful in this dress!

carol on

Seeing her style evolve over the years was great. Pretty girl, beautiful woman, fabulous person. Her style sense was “spot on”. Miss her to this day. Imagine how many more lives she could have touched.

DeMented on

I hope the proceeds go to charity; Princess Diana would have wanted that (IMHO).

faye m on

For royalty in the 80’s this was daring especially the color do you ever see any of them in black.

FCR on

She was beautiful and is still missed. So many ordinary women identified with her struggles, and how painful her death will always be. How proud she would be of her boys. Neither has dated a porn star or has had drug problems. I wish them only the best for the future.

The big black dress: Princess Di’s David and Elizabeth at auction « Fashion Saved My Life on

[…] Diana wore the black dress when she was just 19, during her first public outing with Prince Charles. The two together are expected to go for about $150,000, according to […]

B on

Princess Diana was a fabulous and amazing person – Love the dress, wish I had that kind of cash I’d buy it in a heartbeat!!!

Meg on

It’s good to read the nice comments here regarding Princess Diana. She’s gotten some rough press since 1997 but I thought she was just lovely and just what the word princess was invented for. I miss her.

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