Dresses worn by Princesses Diana and Grace tripled their estimates at Julien’s

Princess Diana’s Catherine Walker black silk velvet cocktail dress, which sold for $250,000 ($325,000 with buyer’s premium) at Julien's.

GARDENA, Calif. – Demand for authenticated celebrity-worn fashion continues to grow in today’s market, with numerous lots hitting triple-estimate numbers at Unstoppable: Signature Styles of Iconic Women in Fashion, a sale held January 18 at Julien’s Auctions. Complete results are available at LiveAuctioneers.

Royal fashion reigned supreme with one of Princess Diana’s signature Catherine Walker garments taking center stage. Her black silk velvet cocktail dress hammered at $250,000 and sold for $325,000 with buyer’s premium, more than three times its low estimate of $100,000. Diana wore the dress to a private event, and it came with full documentation. Julien’s holds the world record for the most expensive dress worn by Princess Diana: a Jacques Azagury celestial dress that earned $1.1 million in 2023 at its Hollywood Legends auction with TCM.

From Great Britain to Monaco, another iconic royal look made a grand showing. This time it was Princess Grace, the Hollywood Golden Age star and Academy Award-winning actress. Her 1961 Givenchy ensemble worn to the White House with husband Prince Rainier to meet President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy also hammered at $250,000 and sold for $325,000 with buyer’s premium. The ensemble consists of what’s described as a ‘Kelly-green’ wool tweed sleeveless dress with a gathered skirt, an elbow-length sleeved tweed jacket, and a white hat.

The three-tier tutu skirt worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the opening credits for HBO’s Sex and the City turned heads once again when it hammered for $40,000 and sold for $52,000 (with buyer’s premium), six and a half times its low estimate of $8,000.

Other Highlights included:

Audrey Hepburn’s 1970 Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche dress, worn to her son’s christening, met its high estimate, hammering for $10,000 and selling for $13,000 with buyer’s premium.

Whitney Houston’s Burberry London cotton trench coat with metallic gold coating, worn at her Mawazine Music Festival performance in Morocco in 2008, hammered for $3,500 and sold for $4,550.

“This showstopping collection of exquisite garments adorned on the royals, Princess Diana and Princess Grace of Monaco and the streetwear-style tutu worn on Hollywood icon Sarah Jessica Parker that made fashion statements at the time of their appearances are now a part of auction history,” said Martin Nolan, co-founder and executive director of Julien’s Auctions. “Today’s auction’s results amplify the value and collectability of these fashion looks that became some of the most iconic style moments of our time.”

Screen- and celebrity-famous couture walks the runway at Julien’s Jan. 18

Princess Diana-worn Catherine Walker black velvet cocktail dress, estimated at $100,000-$200,000 at Julien's.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Julien’s Auctions has announced Unstoppable: Signature Styles of Iconic Women in Fashion, a curated sale scheduled for Thursday, January 18 of royal and celebrity fashion that affected pop culture and runways. The catalog is now available for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.

Given the recent performance of Princess Diana-related fashions, it’s clear that collectors believe now is the time to bring her clothing to market. The sale’s top lot is a Catherine Walker black velvet cocktail dress with ivory satin accents. Originally sold at the now-legendary 1997 Christie’s auction, the dress is estimated at $100,000-$200,000. Diana favored Walker’s designs, reportedly wearing more than 1,000 in her lifetime, and, sadly, one to her grave.

It’s hard to top Diana-worn garments, but a 1961 Givenchy couture ensemble in kelly green wool lined in silk, made for Princess Grace of Monaco, just might do it. Best known as actress Grace Kelly prior to her marriage to Monaco’s Prince Rainier, Grace wore the Givenchy outfit on May 24, 1961 while being welcomed to the White House by President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. The ensemble would make another state visit appearance the next month in Dublin, Ireland. The Princess Grace Givenchy garments are estimated at $60,000-$80,000.

A black and sapphire blue chiton-style Grecian-inspired evening dress, designed by Haitian-American designer Fabrice Simon and owned by Audrey Hepburn, is another lot with serious star power. The gown is labeled Fabrice, Saks Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue Room, and has a hand-written label attesting to the item’s provenance: Lighthouse Association for the Blind, Donated by Audrey Hepburn. It is estimated at $10,000-$20,000.

The tutu worn by Sarah Jessica Parker in the opening credits of HBO’s Sex and the City television series is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the show’s costume designer, Patricia Fields. It is one of five originally used for the sequence, and was found by Fields in a $5 bargain bin. It carries an estimate of $8,000-$12,000.

Reese Witherspoon had a career-making role as Elle in MGM’s 2001 comedy Legally Blonde. Accompanying her everywhere was her pet chihuahua, Bruiser Woods (actually a dog named Moonie). In a key sequence where Elle is attempting to attract the attention of her boyfriend, who is playing in a football game, she dressed in a pink ensemble and dressed Bruiser to match. That pink chihuahua sweater now comes to market with a certificate of authenticity, and is estimated at $500-$700.

Countess opens couture-filled closet for Hindman sale, June 2

Pierre Cardin 1987 tiered flounce lace dress, est. $700-$900
Pierre Cardin 1987 tiered flounce lace dress, est. $700-$900
Pierre Cardin 1987 tiered flounce lace dress, est. $700-$900

CHICAGO – Hindman will offer a collection of Parisian haute couture from the Countess Anita von Galen, a German aristocrat and socialite known for her avant-garde sense of style and brilliant entertaining, as the focal point of its June 2 Summer Fashion & Accessories auction. This auction contains one of the richest collections of haute couture to come to market in recent years. The majority of the 67-lot selection was custom made for Countess von Galen, and features top designers including Hubert de Givenchy and his partner Philippe Venet, Yves Saint Laurent, as well as avant-garde designers Pierre Cardin, Kansai Yamamoto and Yohji Yamamoto. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.

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Haute couture is runway ready for Hindman auction, March 16

Christian Dior tweed skirt suit, 1997-1998, est. $400-$600
L-R: Chanel haute couture wool tweed skirt suit with removable facings, Spring/Summer 1997, est. $2,000-$4,000; Givenchy haute couture maternity jumpsuit, circa 1984, est. $500-$700; Christian Dior tweed skirt suit, 1997-98, est. $400-$600
From left to right: Chanel haute couture wool tweed skirt suit with removable facings, Spring/Summer 1997, est. $2,000-$4,000; circa-1984 Givenchy haute couture maternity jumpsuit in light blue crinkle crepe, est. $500-$700; Christian Dior tweed skirt suit, 1997-98, est. $400-$600

CHICAGO – Hindman Auctions will present its Spring Fashion: Centuries of Style auction on March 16, featuring several private collections of significant haute couture headlined by New York fashion collectors Susan Gutfreund and Jaqueline Leeds. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers. Through these remarkable garments, we begin to understand not only the women who wore them, but also their lifestyle and knowledge of fashion history. Gutfreund and Leeds cultivated relationships with the trailblazing designers and couturiers that created the fashions in this sale.

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Penn Museum dresses to impress with ‘The Stories We Wear’

Worn by Grace Kelly, a Hubert de Givenchy sheath, circa 1964 reigns in the Dressing to Rule section of The Stories We Wear at the Penn Museum. Accession 69.11.1. on loan from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University. Photo credit: Eric Sucar, University Communications
Worn by Grace Kelly, a Hubert de Givenchy sheath, circa 1964 reigns in the Dressing to Rule section of The Stories We Wear at the Penn Museum. Accession 69.11.1. on loan from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University. Photo credit: Eric Sucar, University Communications
Worn by Grace Kelly, a circa-1964 Hubert de Givenchy gown highlights the Dressing to Rule section of The Stories We Wear at the Penn Museum. Accession 69.11.1. on loan from the Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel University. Photo credit: Eric Sucar, University Communications

PHILADELPHIA — The Penn Museum unveils fashion and apparel across time with The Stories We Wear. Showcasing 2,500 years of style through approximately 250 remarkable objects, The Stories We Wear invites guests to identify common threads woven into stories that transcend language, culture, and time to connect people through shared experiences. The exhibition opened September 25 and continues through June 12, 2022.Continue reading