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princess diana

It’s party season (and that “Travolta dress” is up for auction) so here are Princess Diana’s best ’80s eveningwear looks

10 December 2019


One of our forever icons, Princess Diana’s eveningwear is just as relevant now as it was then – especially since big sleeves and voluminous dresses are back in fashion. With news that the iconic gown she wore when dancing with John Travolta is up for auction, here’s a look into all her best looks from the extravagant ’80s.

When Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981 the royal family suddenly became a lot more interesting to girls like me. No longer mothballed and dusty, it now carried an element of glamour that it hadn’t in a while.

I’m sure I wasn’t the only tween to buy a scrapbook and start cutting out and collecting photographs from magazines of the princess in all of her beautiful gowns.
Princess Diana was a style icon and quickly becoming the most photographed woman in the world.

One of her most iconic dresses was the Victor Edelstein midnight-blue velvet gown that she wore to a state dinner at the White House in 1985, where she famously danced with John Travolta.

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On Monday, December 9 that gown will be sold to the highest bidder at the Kerry Taylor Auctions’ Passion for Fashion Auction. It’s expected to sell for somewhere between £250,000 and £346,000.

The state dinner wasn’t the only event the People’s Princess wore it. Known for recycling her garments, she also dazzled in it in 1986 during a state visit to Austria, in 1991 for a night at the Royal Opera House and in 1997 for an official portrait.

Princess Diana and John Travolta

She sold the gown two months before her death to a Florida-based businesswoman, Maureen Dunkel, and the money was donated to AIDS and cancer charities. It changed hands again when Dunkel went bankrupt. A man who wanted to cheer up his wife bought it via auction. Then in 2018 it was part of a Kensington Palace exhibition, “Diana: Her Fashion Story.”

All this talk of Diana’s Travolta dress got us reminiscing about all of her other fabulous frocks.

Here are some of our favourite gowns from the 1980s that Diana wore: 


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