A red sweater worn by Princess Diana in 1981 has sold for $1.14 million at Sotheby’s, setting a new record for the late princess.
The sweater was designed by British designers Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, under their newly-formed label Warm & Wonderful. The red woolen sweater featured a string of white sheep, with a single black sheep standing out. Diana wore the sweater in June 1981 during a polo match, shortly after her engagement to Prince Charles was announced. For Warm & Wonderful, an endorsement from a personality like Princess Diana was just the push they needed to become instantly successful. On the other hand, the iconic sweater has recently resurfaced in the public imagination. In 2020 Rowing Blazers launched its cotton-based version, while the 5th season of The Crown also featured it.
The sweater was part of an online auction, titled “Fashion Icons”, organized by Sotheby’s; the bidding closed on September 14th. The red sweater initially went with low expectations, with its high estimate only being $80,000. However, everyone was left surprised when the highest bid closed for $1.14 million, making it the most expensive object related to the former Princess of Wales. The sweater broke the record previously held by Diana’s iconic purple strapless gown.
There has been a recent re-focus on the British royal family, owing to factors like the show The Crown, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and the scandal surrounding Meghan Markle. In all of this, the late Princess Diana found herself, once again, the subject of high public curiosity. A deep purple, strapless gown of hers sold for $604,000 in January. An amethyst necklace, worn by the princess in October 1987, was sold to Kim Kardashian for $200,000. Curiously, all of these auctions occurred at Sotheby’s, which seems to be determined to capitalize on the renewed interest.