A touch of royalty: Julien’s auctioning off outfits from Princess Diana and Princess Grace

A touch of royalty: Julien’s auctioning off outfits from Princess Diana and Princess Grace

ONE CAN GET the chance to place their hands on history with a sale by Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies (TCM) with an auction titled Glamour, Grace and Greatness on Dec. 17, the conclusion of Julien’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Up for grabs is a blouse worn by Diana, Princess of Wales for her engagement portrait, snapped by photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowdon (and Princess Margaret’s husband). The blouse is in blush pink crepe, with a ruff-like collar, loose pleating on the front, finished off with a pink bow. It was made by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, who also designed the royal’s 1981 wedding dress. In a press release, the auction house says that the blouse was presented on a rack of options for then-Lady Diana Spencer to choose from for her engagement portrait. The same statement quotes Elizabeth Emanuel’s book, A Dress for Diana, that the fashion team at Vogue had assembled a rack of clothing from a variety of designers to present to the future Princess of Wales (who died in a car crash in 1997 after her well-publicized divorce with then-Prince Charles). According to Ms. Emanuel, a client was trying on one of their custom-made gowns and left a black mascara stain on the skirt when taking it off. The Emanuels salvaged the remains of the dress, using the fabric to make this blouse that found its way onto that rack of clothing presented to Diana. Ms. Emanuel said that “When she saw our blouse on the rack she fell in love with it, asked who had made it and was directed to us.”

Ms. Emanuel sold this blouse from her archive in 2010. It was previously on display at Kensington Palace in London as part of the exhibition “Diana: Her Fashion Story” that ran from 2017 to 2019. The blouse is currently estimated between $80,000 to $100,000; with a single bid as of the time of writing at $80,000.

Another piece of Diana memorabilia sure to create some buzz is her Jacques Azagury dress, which she wore to a dinner held by the Mayor of Florence, Italy when she was on an official royal tour of Italy with then-Prince Charles in April of 1985. The dress features a black velvet bodice with embroidered stars in metallic thread made from Jakob Schlaepher fabric with a two-tier royal blue organza skirt with a sash and bow. The dress has padded shoulder pads, typical for the decade, that go into long sleeves that taper at the wrist. The dress, with an estimate up to $200,000, currently has a bid at $100,000.

There are more royal memorabilia at the auction: there are holiday cards signed by King Charles and the late Elizabeth II, as well as royal funeral service itinerary documents from the funerals of George VI, Queen Mary, and the Duke of Windsor.

More items associated with famous blondes will also be in the sale. There’s a costume design sketch for the late Princess Grace of Monaco, for her movie To Catch a Thief (estimated between $5,000 to $7,000); and dresses and scarves owned by Greta Garbo. There’s a clock owned by Marilyn Monroe ($2,000 to $4,000), and a nude photograph of her, owned by late Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. Dresses worn by Audrey Hepburn, as well as letters sent to friends, will also be in the sale; a highlight includes her yellow Hubert de Givenchy coat worn in her movie Charade (estimated between $20,000 to $40,000).

The auction will be held in Los Angeles on Dec. 17 (10 a.m PST) but the auction house is taking online bids. Register for online bids through JuliensAuctions.com.