Lady Diana’s eighteenth birthday dress is still available

They say that old things should be thrown away, that keeping items and clothes associated with a good time or a special event is just a way to fill the house with clutter and memories that don’t always age well in our imaginations. Nevertheless, Princess Diana she must have been one of those who cannot easily separate herself from things that reminded her of something beautiful, this was clear many years ago when at the exhibition Royal gifts Buckingham Palace, where everyday items belonging to members of the royal family were on display, also featured a briefcase full of his music cassettes, which he kept long before the advent of compact discs. The same thoughts were caused by her reappearance in public in a dress more than 40 years ago, which the then eighteen-year-old girl Lady Diana Spencernot yet guessing what her fate would be, she put it on on an exceptional occasion for a girl of the British aristocracy: her eighteenth birthday, which became her debut in society.

It was 1979 and Lady Diana’s grandfather, Albert, had died four years earlier, leaving his son John the title of Earl Spencer. The family moved into Althorp House, a magnificent 90-room formal residence, a 13,000-acre estate, a huge art gallery and Wootton Hall, the large Georgian entrance hall where Diana studied dancing. Partly because the family respected the mourning of Earl Albert’s death, partly because there was no real occasion—Diana’s two older sisters had already made their public debut—the new Earl had never held a dance party at Althorp. It was decided to give it as a gift in the fall of 1979 in order to officially introduce Diana, who turned 18 on July 1, to society. Oddly enough, although the future Princess of Wales was destined to go down in history as a style icon, at that age she was not at all interested in fashion and would not be for some time to come. Diana had few clothes in her wardrobe, and when she needed to go to an event, she borrowed them from a friend or classmate. Even when she started dating Prince Charles a year later, according to Andrew Morton’s famous biography of her, she still had to fish in her roommates’ closets. But someone else’s and already used dress is not an acceptable solution for a debut in society. So, a few days before her eighteenth birthday, young Diana sought help from her mother Frances, who accompanied her to Harrods. In the famous department store, not suspecting that her life would one day end tragically along with the life of the owner’s son, Diana tried on various dresses. In the end she chose a dress from Regamus, the most popular brand of evening dresses among London girls from good families at the time.

The designer mode dress worn by Britain's Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, to the Elthrop House Ball in 1979, during a press preview of the upcoming exhibition entitled Pinterest icon

Lady Diana’s first evening dress at age 18 is on display at Kensington Palace.

Daniel Leal//Getty Images

L’Lady Diana’s eighteenth birthday dress it was turquoise silk with an overskirt of polka dot nylon voile that lightened it and made it closer to the color of her eyes. It was very romantic, trimmed with lace, decorated with velvet ribbons and complemented by a voile stole. It was a much cheaper dress than what Diana would have worn as a princess, but it already revealed the special taste that she had cultivated and perfected over the years, a passion for strapless necklines, for frills and lace, which she would later wear. frequently revived in the 80s and abandoned in the 90s. Very little is known about the party, with only one image circulating of Diana sitting on a sofa reading a magazine (above). Not who was there, not how it happened and what we ate and drank. The birthday of one of the many little girls from a good aristocratic family in the United Kingdom was certainly not an event. But it is known that a few minutes before the guests arrived, Diana accidentally spilled a bottle of her favorite perfume on her skirt – probably Tea rosewhich she had used since childhood and had to let it dry.

Perfumer’s workshop Tea rose from perfumers

Tea rose from perfumers

Perfumer’s workshop Tea rose from perfumers

There remained an aura that no one noticed that day. The next day, Diana put the first evening dress in her life into her wardrobe, intending to keep it for herself. But on the eve of her wedding to Charles, when Madame Tussauds asked her for something of her own to decorate a new wax statue in her likeness, Diana had to part with it, since she had no others that could be put on public display. The scented halo on the skirt was commented on and documented in 2005 as almost a value addition when Madame Tussauds decided to includeLady Diana’s secular debut dress at a charity auction. It is said to have been won by a mysterious American nurse who still (obsessively) collects items that belonged to the Princess of Wales. But a few years later, the woman agreed to resell it to Kensington Palace (for an unknown sum), whose staff restored it and put it on display in 2017 at the Pigott Galleries for an exhibition. Diana: her fashion storyaccompanied by one photograph of a very young (and already very tall) debutante, the daughter of Earl Spencer, who entered the adult world with this party.

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