Princess Diana’s fashion legacy continues to captivate the world, with her iconic wardrobe pieces making headlines yet again. In a surprising turn of events at a recent Sotheby’s auction in New York, a seemingly unassuming knitwear item stole the show, breaking records and highlighting the enduring allure of the late Princess of Wales’ style. Let’s delve into the fascinating story of Princess Diana’s “black sheep” sweater and its remarkable journey through time.
The Fashion Icon: Princess Diana’s Enduring Style Legacy
Princess Diana was renowned for her impeccable fashion choices, each outfit telling a unique story. From her iconic wedding dress to the daring “revenge dress,” she consistently pushed the boundaries of royal fashion. Her willingness to experiment with different styles made her a fashion trailblazer, forever influencing dress codes and fashion semiotics.
A Surprising Auction Triumph
At the recent Sotheby’s Fashion Icons auction in New York, history was made when a seemingly unassuming garment took the spotlight. The star of the show was a “black sheep” sweater, initially worn by Princess Diana in 1981 during a polo match, while she was engaged to the future King Charles III.
The Record-Breaking Bid
The auction’s attendees witnessed a bidding frenzy, as this unassuming sweater’s value soared to unexpected heights. Initially estimated to fetch between $50,000 and $80,000, the final bid left everyone astonished. In the last 15 minutes of the sale, the sweater’s price skyrocketed from $190,000 to a staggering $1,143,000, breaking all previous records for garments worn by Princess Diana.
Surpassing the Previous Record
Previously, the highest price paid for a piece from Diana’s wardrobe was for a Victor Edelstein ball gown from 1989. This maroon silk-velvet dress, known for its elegant tulip skirt, symbolized Diana’s fashion evolution and fetched $604,800 at an earlier auction this year. However, the unassuming knit sweater has not only surpassed this record but also claimed the title of the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction.
The Unique Design
Created in 1979 by knitwear designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne under their label Warm & Wonderful, this sweater features a charming pattern of white sheep neatly arranged in rows. What makes it truly distinctive is the solitary black sheep that stands out on the front, a playful nod to the term “black sheep” in reference to someone who doesn’t quite conform.
A Small Snag and Royal Gratitude
Shortly after Princess Diana wore the sweater, she reported a minor snag in one of the cuffs. Buckingham Palace promptly returned it to the designers, who wasted no time knitting a brand-new replacement. Their kind gesture earned them a letter of gratitude from the palace. Princess Diana continued to wear this replacement piece, including at the 1983 polo match, where it was immortalized in a photograph.
A Sweater of Enduring Legacy
The sale of Princess Diana’s “black sheep” sweater not only exceeded all expectations but also reaffirmed her lasting influence on the world of fashion. This unassuming knitwear item, with its charming design and royal history, has etched its place in fashion history as the most valuable sweater ever sold at auction.