There is hardly a Princess Diana dress more iconic than the velvet Victor Edelstein she wore to dance with John Travolta during a state banquet at the White House given by US President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
John Travolta has since said he didn’t have plans to dance with her, but was told by Nancy Reagan that the Princess had asked for it to happen, so he tapped on her shoulder at midnight and invited her on the dance floor for fifteen minutes to a medley of Grease and Saturday Night Fever amongst other tunes.
As for the dress, Diana had seen in burgundy, but asked the designer to create it in a midnight blue for her, and it looked perfect with her sapphire and pearl choker.
The dress was originally auctioned off by the Princess herself for charity in 1997 (sold for £120,000), and was last sold at auction in 2013, to a husband wanting to surprise his wife (for £240,000).
Though the dress was originally auctioned off last week by Kerry Taylor Auctions, it surprisingly failed to reach the reserve prices of £200,000, while it was expected to go for up to £350,000.
However it has now been snapped up by the Historic Royal Palaces for £220,000, and will soon go on display as part of its Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection.
The curator of the exhibition, Eleri Lynn, said, ‘So many designers have spoken to me about Diana’s incredible charisma and presence. Even designers who had many years’ experience of dressing celebrities and royalty talked about how Diana had the ability to make them feel as if they were walking on air. I think Diana’s real triumph in fashion was that she rose above it, so that by the end, all you saw was her.’