In 1986, a then-25-year-old Princess Diana traveled with her husband, Prince Charles, to the Gulf States of Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia on an official tour. Before her visit, she commissioned sketches of dresses she might wear to the region that would preserve her modesty, in accordance with local customs.
Husband and wife designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel devised drawings of four outfits — including a full-body burqa, which Diana never wore. Now those sketches (along with fabric swatches and letters that were submitted along with them, as well as invoices) are up for auction through RR Auction and are expected to sell for up to $30,000.
The images of the sketches provided by RR Auction shows what the dresses would have looked like if David and Elizabeth designed the clothes. “It’s a remarkable, comprehensive archive from the famously stylish royal,” said RR executive vice president Bobby Livingston in a statement.
Diana’s impeccable style was what made her a fashion icon. Eleri Lynn, curator of the exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, previously opened up to Vanity Fair about how Diana expressed herself through her clothes.
“It is very surprising how little footage there exists of the Princess actually speaking. We all have a sense of what we think she was like, and yet so much of it comes from still photographs, and a large part of that [idea] is communicated through the different clothes that she wore,” Eleri said and also added that Diana is “a fashion icon whose style is so emulated and so loved, really.”
On royal outings, Eleri explained that Diana would opt for “cheerful, colorful clothes because she wanted to convey approachability and warmth.” She added, “She didn’t wear gloves because she liked to hold people’s hands. She would sometimes wear chunky jewelry so that children could play with it, and she never wore hats to children’s hospitals after a while, because she said you couldn’t cuddle a child in a hat.”
It was almost as if Diana chose each one of her outfits carefully so that she could convey the person that she was and who she wanted to be. We’re just glad her daughter-in-laws, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, are living out her fashion legacy with their style choices!
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