Princess Diana’s iconic “black sheep” sweater, known for its playfully patterned red wool and a single black sheep surrounded by white ones, is set to hit the auction block after stirring headlines for decades. The much-anticipated garment is expected to fetch more than $50,000 at Sotheby’s online “Fashion Icons” sale in September, headlining a collection of prestigious fashion items.
The sweater’s significance lies not only in its association with Diana’s high fashion taste but also in the representation of her personality. Christopher Andersen, author of “The King,” emphasized that the black sheep sweater reflects Diana’s playfulness while also symbolizing her feelings of being an outsider and a rebel who didn’t quite fit in or belong within the royal family.
“Diana once said, ‘When I was born, I was unwanted. When I married Charles, I was unwanted. When I joined the royal family, I was unwanted. I want to be wanted,’” shared Andersen. This poignant sentiment shows the deep emotional connection Diana had with the garment, as she saw herself as the black sheep within the royal family’s design.
A Sweater with History
The story of the sweater dates back to June 1981 when the former Lady Diana Spencer, just 19 years old and recently engaged to Prince Charles, was photographed wearing it at a polo match. The moment captured the attention of the public, resulting in a sales boost for the designers behind the label “Warm & Wonderful,” Sally Muir, and Joanna Osborne.
A few weeks later, the designers received a letter from Buckingham Palace, notifying them that Diana had damaged the sweater. They suspected it was due to her diamond and sapphire engagement ring snagging on the sleeve. The original sweater was returned to them, showing clear signs of damage.
Undeterred, the designers knitted a new sweater and sent it to Diana. The Princess was later photographed wearing it at an event in 1983, sporting a black ribbon tie and white jeans, adding to the garment’s legacy.
Reviving Diana’s Memory
Even after Diana’s passing in 1997, her personal items continued to be highly sought-after. In 2019, her Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt fetched a hefty sum of $53,533 at auction. Similarly, earlier this year, her diamond and amethyst cross pendant was purchased by Kim Kardashian for $197,453, and her aubergine evening gown by Victor Edelstein was sold for a staggering $604,800.
H2: The Black Sheep Sweater’s Rediscovery
The original black sheep sweater was recently rediscovered in February, hidden away in an attic. Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne stumbled upon the piece and promptly contacted Sotheby’s to prepare it for auction. Cynthia Houlton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Fashion and Accessories, expressed the significance of the garment, stating that it carries the whispers of Princess Diana’s grace, charm, and keen eye for fashion.
H2: Online Bidding and Public Exhibition
Online bidding for Diana’s black sheep sweater is scheduled to commence on August 31st, the anniversary of her untimely passing at the age of 36. The auction will run until September 14th, providing ample time for collectors and enthusiasts to participate. Before the auction, the sweater will be showcased to the public at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City from September 7th to September 13th.
H2: A Testament to Diana’s Legacy
Princess Diana’s “black sheep” sweater is more than just a fashion item; it’s a testament to her unique personality and enduring legacy. As the auction approaches, the world eagerly awaits to see how much this cherished piece will fetch, honoring the memory of a beloved royal who left an indelible mark on history.
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