Princess Diana's Iconic Jumper | A Rare Fashion Treasure Headed for Sotheby's Auction
An iconic jumper worn by the late Princess Diana of Britain is set to be auctioned later this summer, with an estimated price of up to $80,000. The jumper, adorned with a unique design of a lone black sheep among rows of white sheep, was created by the renowned knitwear label Warm & Wonderful. This rare piece will be the star attraction of the Sotheby's Fashion Icons auction, taking place online from August 31st to September 14th.
The fascinating history behind the jumper's rediscovery adds to its allure. Earlier this year, one of the founders of Warm & Wonderful stumbled upon the garment in an attic, rekindling memories of its association with the beloved Princess. Diana first donned the striking red jumper in June 1981, while watching Prince Charles play in a polo game, just a month before their wedding. This act sparked curiosity and speculation over the potential significance of the jumper to the couple.
Unfortunately, the jumper sustained damage on the wrist during use, prompting Diana's private secretary, Oliver Everett, to reach out to Joanna Osborne, the co-founder of Warm & Wonderful. He inquired about the possibility of repairs, and the jumper was duly sent back for restoration. Several months later, Diana received a replacement, and she was photographed wearing it in 1983.
In March, Joanna Osborne made a remarkable discovery in her attic: the original jumper that had been worn by Princess Diana. This find brought to light the sentimental value the sweater held for the Princess, as it was evident that she had cherished it deeply.
Cynthia Houlton, the global head of fashion at Sotheby's, expressed her thoughts on the matter, emphasizing the significance of the Princess choosing to wear the replacement sweater two years later. It was a testament to how much the jumper meant to Diana and the special connection she felt towards it.
The upcoming auction includes not only the cherished jumper but also the two letters from Diana's private secretary, Oliver Everett, to Joanna Osborne. These letters add a personal touch to the historical artifact, providing a glimpse into the exchange between the Princess and the designer.
Given the extraordinary provenance and the emotional attachment associated with the jumper, experts at Sotheby's have estimated its value to be between $50,000 and $80,000. Such is the appeal of Princess Diana's belongings that earlier this year, another item – a purple, velvet, strapless evening gown from her wardrobe – designed by couturier Victor Edelstein, fetched over $600,000, exceeding its pre-auction estimate by five times.
Currently, the jumper and letters are on display at Sotheby's London until Wednesday. Afterward, they will be exhibited in New York in September, giving admirers and collectors from around the world the opportunity to appreciate and bid on this remarkable piece of fashion history.