Princess Diana’s Gulf tour designs to go under the hammer

Boston-based RR Auction is set to auction off items relating to Princess Diana's Gulf tour. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 September 2018
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Princess Diana’s Gulf tour designs to go under the hammer

  • Attendees will have the chance to bid for a folder marked “The ‘Gulf’ Tour 1986, Day & Evening Wear Designs”
  • In November 1986, Princess Diana and Prince Charles paid a six-day visit to the Gulf states

DUBAI: Twenty-one years after the death of Princess Diana, an archive of fabric samples and sketched designs  from her 1986 tour of the Gulf is going up for auction on Sept. 25 in the US. 

Boston-based RR Auction is set to auction off items originating from the archives of David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the designers behind the royal’s wedding dress. The Emanuels also designed more than 100 different outfits for Diana, including pieces for her travels abroad.

A full burqa, marked "H.R.H. The Princess of Wales, Visit to Saudi Arabia, Nov. 1986, Reserve Outfit."
A full burqa design marked "H.R.H. The Princess of Wales, Visit to Saudi Arabia, Nov. 1986, Reserve Outfit." (RR Auction)

Attendees will have the chance to bid for a folder marked "The 'Gulf' Tour 1986, Day & Evening Wear Designs," containing five original hand-drawn outfit designs: A full burqa, marked "H.R.H. The Princess of Wales, Visit to Saudi Arabia, Nov. 1986, Reserve Outfit," a navy-and-white striped coat over a white faconné dress, as well as a sketch of a slim-fitting evening dress in white silk crepe embroidered with bugle beads, tiny crystals and diamanté. The folder also includes 12 photocopies of original designs, each affixed with its associated fabric sample and stapled to a descriptive cover sheet. 

In November 1986, Princess Diana and Prince Charles paid a six-day visit to the Gulf states. In Saudi Arabia, she was famously invited to King Fahd's palace and the princess was reported to have tried to conform to local customs by wearing modest clothing — she didn’t, however, end up wearing the “reserve” burqa designed by the Emanuels, despite its rather fashionable below-the-knee bow.

Also up for auction is an original color photograph showing Diana choosing from the designs and fabrics with the Emanuels. (RR Auction) 
 

A note from Diana’s lady-in-waiting Anne Beckwith-Smith is also set to go under the hammer.

Dated June 2, 1986, the missive to Elizabeth Emanuel requests designs for the royal tour of the Gulf.

"Certain special requirements concerning dress need to be observed and I am writing to ask if it would be possible to submit to The Princess of Wales a few sketches for day and evening wear from which Her Royal Highness could select items for this tour. Their royal highnesses will be visiting Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia…In all cases modesty is the order of the day,” the note reads.

A design from the collecton. (RR Auction)

Also up for auction is an original color photograph showing Diana choosing from the designs and fabrics with the Emanuels.

The Remarkable Rarities live auction event from RR Auction will take place on Sept. 25 in Boston.


The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

Emma Stone at the 2015 Academy Awards. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2019
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The Six: Oscars red carpet rewind

DUBAI: We recount some of our favorite Arab-designed gowns to grace the Oscars’ red carpet.

Halle Berry

Berry made history in 2002 when she became the first black woman to win the Oscar for Best Actress. She wore a now iconic Elie Saab burgundy gown with a see-through corset and floral detailing for the occasion.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez presented at the 2012 ceremony and turned heads in a beautiful white Zuhair Murad dress embellished with sequins and featuring a plunging neckline and figure-hugging cut.  

Lady Gaga

Always one to shine, Lady Gaga showed up to the 2015 show wearing a white Azzedine Alaia dress with red dishwashing gloves.

Emma Stone

Stone wore a beautiful green-hued Elie Saab gown to the 2015 ceremony. The embellishments, cut and fall of the fabric made the dress a whimsical and dreamy number to remember.

Jenna Dewan

At the 2014 awards show, Dewan wore a mermaid style Reem Acra gown that was tight fitting and embellished with feathers and sequins.

Chrissy Teigen

The always elegant Teigen wore a white Zuhair Murad dress with a high split to the 2017 ceremony show. The gown featured metallic detailing and a gold belt to cinch in the waist.