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Fashion News

Princess Diana's iconic 'John Travolta dress' fails to sell at charity auction

The famous frock was thought to fetch between $AUD475,000 and $665,000.

By Alex Lilly
Back in 1985, Princess Diana made headlines when she took to the dance floor during a state dinner at the White House and shared a dance with actor, John Travolta.
Her iconic midnight blue off-the-shoulder gown has gone down as one of her most iconic outfits, but at the recent Kerry Taylor Auctions' Passion for Fashion auction in London, the frock failed to sell.
Diana's dress failed to sell at auction. (Image: Getty Images)
The late Princess of Wales' gown was estimated to fetch between $AUD475,000 and $665,000 on the day, but bids failed to reach the reserve price of roughly $390,000.
However it wasn't all bad news, as the dress was eventually sold post-auction to a British institution for about $425,700. According to the auction house, the seller was "delighted as he hoped it would stay in the UK."
Two other outfits of Diana's were also up for auction and both the blue velvet evening gown and navy outfit sold.
Princess Diana wore the gown when she visited the then US President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Regan at the White House with Prince Charles. (Image: Getty Images)
According to Kerry Taylor Auctions, designer Victor Edelstein made dresses for Princess Diana over an 11-year period and the royal would often pop into his shop and look through the collections whilst her security guard waited outside.
When Princess Diana saw the gown in his studio, it was in burgundy and she requested it be made for her in midnight blue. The gown fittings took place in the royal's private apartments at Kensington Palace and at the last fitting, Princess Diana was reportedly so delighted with the final result that she rushed to show it to her husband, Prince Charles.
Mr Edelstein recalls that the Prince, who appeared in full regimental dress (as he had an official engagement that day), told his wife that she looked wonderful in the gown and that it would be perfect to wear with jewels.
The dress was originally made in burgundy but Diana requested the designer to make it for her in midnight blue. (Image: Getty Images)
In an interview with Dutch television station Één, John Travolta recalled the moment saying he saying that he "didn't know or expect to dance with Lady Diana," and that it was the First Lady Nancy Reagan, who told him that it was "her wish" to dance with him.
"At midnight, I had to tap her on her shoulder, and I had to say, 'Would you care to dance?' She turned around and dipped her head in that Lady Diana way, and we were off for 15 minutes dancing," he said.
"I'll never forget it. I'm so honoured that I was able to experience this, and I know for a fact that it was her highlight of being in the United States; it was her favourite moment. So I feel I made her life better, she made my life better, and I'm very sorry that she's not here."
WATCH: Remembering Princess Diana's legacy. Post continues after video...
However, according to one of Princess Diana's closest confidantes, the royal had her eye on another dance partner that night.
In one of his many tell-all books, The Way We Were, the Princess's former butler Paul Burrell said that Diana had apparently confided to him: "John Travolta was a gentleman and absolutely charming but he wasn't my chosen partner."
Years later in the 2017 documentary The Last 100 Days of Diana he explained: "Nancy and Ronny Regan set up the press to take a picture of her dancing with John Travolta. She said, 'I didn't really want to dance with him though. I wanted to dance with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Because he is my hero.'"

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