Diana’s ‘Travolta’ gown sells post auction for £220,000

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The princess wore the dress to a state dinner at the White House in 1985.

Diana, Princess of Wales dresses sale

One of Diana, Princess of Wales’s most famous dresses has finally sold post auction for the price of £264,000.

Diana wore the midnight-blue, off-the-shoulder, velvet gown by Victor Edelstein when she danced with Hollywood actor John Travolta during a state banquet at the White House given by US President Ronald Reagan in 1985.

Bids on the gown, which Diana originally spotted in burgundy but asked Edelstein to make in blue for her, did not reach the reserve price of £200,000 at an auction on Monday.

Diana, Princess of Wales dresses sale
An evening gown worn by Diana, Princess of Wales (David Mirzoeff/PA)

It had been expected to fetch between £250,000 and £350,000 at the Passion for Fashion sale at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London.

The dress was later sold post-auction to the Historic Royal Palaces for a hammer price of £264,000 including the buyer’s premium – and the auctioneer said the seller was delighted as “he hoped it would stay in the UK”.

Eleri Lynn, curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “We’re delighted to have acquired this iconic evening gown for the royal ceremonial dress collection – a designated collection of national and international importance – over 20 years since it first left Kensington Palace.

“Not only is the ‘Travolta’ dress a fantastic example of couture tailoring designed to dazzle on a state occasion, it represents a key moment in the story of 20th-century royal fashion.”


She went on describe Diana as someone who became a “timeless” and “elegant” fashion icon.

It was the star attraction when Diana auctioned off scores of her outfits for charity in 1997, and sold for more than £120,000.

The dress was last sold at auction in 2013 for £240,000 and bought by an anonymous bidder who said he wanted to surprise his wife.


Diana and Travolta had twirled across the White House dance floor to a medley of Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

The actor described the experience as being “like a fairy tale”.

Two other items from her wardrobe also formed part of the sale.

A long-sleeved Katherine Cusack evening gown, also midnight-blue velvet, from 1986 went for double what was expected.

It was estimated to sell for between £20,000-£30,000, but was sold for £60,000 including buyers’ premium.

A navy wool dress with wide, white collar by Catherine Walker from 1989, estimated to go for up to £6,000, went for £35,000 including buyers’ premium.

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