Lot 10: A Victor Edelstein midnight-blue velvet evening
March 19, 2013
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: A Victor Edelstein midnight-blue velvet evening gown worn to the State dinner at the White House given by President and Mrs Reagan, when Princess Diana memorably danced with John Travolta, 9th November, 1985, labelled 'Victor Edelstein, London', the lightly boned bodice with off the shoulder straps, the diagonally swathed velvet skirt hugs the figure tightly to the knee with bow to one side, and then flares out into a broad flounce above layered tulle petticoats, bust approx 92cm, 36in, waist 71cm, 28in This is one of the most iconic and famous of all Princess Diana's dresses. Victor Edelstein made dresses for Princess Diana over an eleven year period. She would often pop into his shop at 3-4 Stanhope Mews and look through the collections whilst her security guard waited outside. The Princess saw this model in his studio in burgundy and requested it be made for her in midnight blue. The fittings for the gown took place in her private apartments at Kensington Palace. At the last fitting, Princess Diana was so delighted with the final result that she rushed to show it to Prince Charles. Mr Edelstein recalls that the Prince, who appeared in full regimental dress (as he had an official engagement that day) told the Princess that she looked wonderful in the gown and that it would be perfect to wear with jewels. In 1985 the Royal couple made their first joint State visit to the United States. It lasted for four days and wherever they went they were greeted by thousands of cheering people. On the first evening of their arrival, with the Princess still suffering from jet-lag, they attended the grand gala dinner at the White House. Although painfully thin, Diana was still the image of sophisticated elegance in her Edelstein gown worn with long satin gloves and a sapphire and pearl choker that she had converted from a brooch that the Queen Mother had presented to her. At the dinner, Prince Charles and Princess Diana met the leading politicians and business leaders of the day, mixed with a sprinkling of Hollywood movie stars and entertainers, including Clint Eastwood and Neil Diamond. However, the most memorable image of the trip - was not to be of the married couple - but of the Princess and John Travolta, twirling and gliding across the White House dance floor to the strains of 'You Should be Dancing' from his movie 'Saturday Night Fever.' Unusually, Mr Travolta had not been invited with a companion but he soon understood the reason why. Afterwards, in an interview with chat show host Andrew Denton, he described how Nancy Reagan quietly took him aside and whispered that Princess Diana had only one wish on this American trip - and that it was to dance with him! At midnight with a little prompting from the First Lady and with his heart pounding, he crossed the floor. He recalls, 'She turned around and she did that look that she did so, so beautifully and I asked if she would care to dance and she said she'd love to and we danced for twenty minutes to a medley of 'Grease' and 'Saturday Night Fever.'..I was on cloud nine. She has great rhythm. We did spins and turns. We did a kind of modern fox-trot and she followed me very well. 'Maybe some day we'll get to do this in a less-watched situation', I said near the end. 'That would be great', she replied. Then, as everybody applauded, he thanked her. He described the experience as being 'like a fairytale'. This highly important gown is one of the most repeatedly worn dresses in her collection. She wore it on least four more major occasions: In Vienna on the State visit to Austria, 14th-17th April 1986. To accompany Prince Charles to the annual banquet of the Asian Affairs Society, at the Savoy hotel, 5th February 1986. In Bonn on a State visit to Germany, 2nd November 1987. To the Royal Opera House in 1991, when she met Vivienne Westwood. For an official portrait by artist Israel Zohar in 1990. This dress must have been of special significance to the Princess because in 1997 she chose to wear it for her last portrait by Lord Snowdon - and with the same necklace she had worn twelve years earlier when she had so memorably danced at the White House. In this last portrait, the thirty-five year old Princess appears self assured, confident and of course dazzlingly beautiful. Provenance: Dresses from the Collection of Diana Princess of Wales auction, Christies, 25th June, 1997, lot 79. An additional 5% VAT is payable on the hammer price, this can be refunded if proof of export outside the EU is provided within 6 months of the sale date.