Lot 3050: Princess Diana Dress Fabric Archive
25th September 2018
Comprehensive archive of fabric samples and related paperwork for Princess Diana's 1986 'Gulf Tour,' originating from the shop of David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the famous designers of Princess Diana's wedding dress. The Emanuels also designed more than 100 different outfits for Diana for special occasions and for when she traveled abroad. Includes: An Emanuel folder marked "The 'Gulf' Tour 1986, Daywear Fabrics," containing over 200 fabric swatches of various sizes stapled to 46 sheets, many of which are marked, "Silk Fabrics, Daywear." These include many different colors and patterns, including floral prints, paisley, stripes, polka dots, pinstripes, solids, and abstract patterns. An additional page marked "Silk Fabrics" has hand-drawn sketches of colorful "candy stripe" fabric samples that are "soon to be available." An Emanuel folder marked "The 'Gulf' Tour 1986, Evening Wear Fabrics," containing 30 fabric swatches stapled to 8 sheets, many of which are marked, "Silk Fabrics, Eveningwear." These are predominately more conservative solids and moire patterns, as well as gold-pinstriped silks. An Emanuel folder marked "The 'Gulf' Tour 1986, Day & Evening Wear Designs," containing five original hand-drawn pencil outfit designs: a full burqa, marked "H.R.H. The Princess of Wales, Visit to Saudi Arabia, Nov. 1986, Reserve Outfit"; outfit "No. 6," a "navy and white stripe coat over white faconné dress"; outfit "No. 11," a dramatic evening dress in "black and white silk duchess satin"; outfit "No. 12," a slim evening dress of "purple faconné with diamanté buttons"; and outfit "No. 13," a slim fitting evening dress in "white silk crepe embroidered with bugle beads and tiny crystals and diamanté." Additionally includes 12 photocopies of original designs, each affixed with its associated fabric sample and stapled to a descriptive cover sheet. Additional ephemera includes: a TLS from Diana's lady-in-waiting, Anne Beckwith-Smith, to Elizabeth Emanuel, June 2, 1986, requesting designs for the tour of the Gulf: "Certain special requirements concerning dress need to be observed and I am writing to ask if it would be possible to submit to The Princess of Wales a few sketches for day and evening wear from which Her Royal Highness could select items for this tour. Their Royal highnesses will be visiting Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia…In all cases modesty is the order of the day"; an original color photograph showing Diana choosing from the designs and fabrics with the Emanuels; and interesting copies of the Emanuel invoices, which describe the dresses in great detail—despite her royal status, Diana still had to pay for her own clothing. In overall fine condition. In November 1986, Princess Diana and Prince Charles made a six-day tour of the Arabian Gulf states. In Saudi Arabia, she was famously invited to King Fahd's palace—a rare honor for a member of her gender—although she was not allowed to dine with the men. Princess Diana tried to conform to local customs by wearing concealing clothes, but still exposed her neck and left her head uncovered—notably, she did not have to wear the "Reserve Outfit" burqa depicted in this archive. At evening banquets, she appeared in the long-sleeved demure dresses made especially for the tour. A remarkable, comprehensive archive from the famously stylish royal.
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