At auction, a red sweater worn by the young Princess Diana and decorated with a flock of sheep is anticipated to fetch more than $50,000.
The highlight of Sotheby’s September online Fashion Icons sale is a whimsically patterned wool sweater with a lone black sheep amidst a patchwork of white sheep.
Soon after her engagement to Prince Charles, who was at the time the heir to the British monarchy, Lady Diana Spencer, then 19 years old, was pictured wearing the outfit at a polo tournament in June 1981.
Designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, who created the sweater for their modest knitwear firm, Warm & Wonderful, received a major boost from the occasion since Diana was already emerging as a style icon and one of the most photographed ladies in the world.
A few weeks later, Muir and Osborne received a formal letter from Buckingham Palace informing them that Diana had ruined the sweater and requesting a replacement or repair.
Diana was pictured wearing the knit sweater with white pants and a black ribbon tie at an occasion in 1983 after the damaged original was returned and a new one was created and sent.
According to some theories, Diana preferred the “black sheep” design because she felt alienated from the royal family. Emma Corrin was wearing a copy.
The design is still produced by Warm & Wonderful in cotton and costs 190 pounds ($250). The original was found by Osborne earlier this year, buried in a box in an attic. Sotheby’s global head of fashion and accessories, Cynthia Houlton, stated that “this exceptional garment, meticulously preserved, carries the whispers of Princess Diana’s grace, charm, and her keen eye for fashion.
From September 7 to 13, the sweater, which is valued between $50,000 and $80,000, will be on display at Sotheby’s New York showroom. Online bidding starts on August 31 and lasts through September 14.
The most money ever paid for a piece of Diana memorabilia was $604,800 for a ballgown by Victor Edelstein that Sotheby’s sold in January.