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    10 iconic Princess Diana dresses up for auction

    12:17 PM, Mar 1, 2013   |    comments
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    LONDON, UK (CBS) -- Ten iconic evening gowns worn by Diana, Princess of Wales, are up for sale at auction in London later this month and are estimated to fetch up to $1,260,000.

    The dresses were last seen together at auction in New York in June 1997, just two months before Diana died. The Princess decided the sell some of her most lavish evening wear to raise money for charity.

    Ten of those gowns, which went on public display after Diana's death, are now being sold at Kerry Taylor Auctions in London on March 19.

    The most expensive is a Victor Edelstein designed midnight-blue velvet evening gown worn by Diana during a White House dinner hosted by President Reagan in 1985.
    $300,000 and $450,000.

    "It is a very important image and it was very important, especially in the America at the time, this was the first trip that the young couple, Prince Charles and Diana had made to America together, and everywhere they went thousands of people came out to cheer them," said auctioneer Kerry Taylor.

    Other dazzling dresses include a glittering sea-green sequined gown, designed by Catherine Walker worn during a State visit to Austria in 1989. That dress is estimated at between $45,000 and $75,000.

    Several of the dresses in the collection are quite daring, with plunging neck lines or long V backs.

    Taylor said the style of the gowns Diana chose reflected her sometimes painful journey from shy princess to fashion icon.

    "I think she suffered quite a lot during her life and a lot of people empathized with her situation and the way she, towards the end, she sort of got through it, became empowered. And I think the dresses show that too, the ones from the 1990's, she was very confident, very sexy, very self-assured woman, whereas the earlier dresses show this sweet little girl, this little ingénue, so they tell a story in a way these dresses and it is quite a poignant story," she said.

    Another Catherine Walker-designed dress, a black velvet beaded-gown with halter neck was made famous by the photographer Mario Testino, who photographed Diana in it for Vanity Fair in 1997. That is estimated to fetch between $75,000 and $106,000.

    Kerry Taylor Auctions predicts that the dresses will go to individual buyers rather than to a single collector and says perhaps they will end up around the world, with buyers from Korea, Brazil and India interested as the collection features gowns worn by Diana during State visits to those countries.

    The British royal family now has a new style icon in Prince William's wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. With paparazzi and the public as fascinated with what Kate wears as they were with Diana. Taylor said the two women have similar styles.

    "They both like solid colors, they don't go in for masses of prints, they like very strong shapes, draping, very snappy little Givenchy-esque suits. I think Kate is a fantastic style figure already and I think it will only get better with the years," she said.

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