Five dresses designed by Jacques Azagury, and indistinguishable from ones worn by Princess Diana after she divorced then-Prince Charles, have sold at auction to a U.S. collector amid the designer’s retirement.
“She was the only person I was really excited to meet, time after time,” Azagury, who designed for Diana for 12 years up until her death in a Paris car crash in 1997, told People magazine. “Every moment was so exciting to me, and we had so much fun. I never got any of the troubled Diana. Whenever we were together, it was just joyous.”
Azagury said he only decided to sell the dresses because he is retiring.
“The whole collection means a lot to me,” he said. “I really wanted people to keep enjoying these iconic dresses and ideally to keep the whole collection together.”
PRINCESS DIANA’S DRESSES TO HIT AUCTION BLOCK THIS SUMMER: ‘THERE IS NO BIGGER LEGEND’
The dresses include the sparkly, black halter dress she wore to an event on the night her controversial “Panorama” interview was aired in 1995; a short, sleeveless light-blue dress she wore to the Royal Albert Hall in 1997; a similar, slightly longer black one that she donned at the Tate Gallery for her final red-carpet event before her death; a short red dress she wore to an event in Venice; and another red one at a Red Cross event in Washington, D.C., in 1997.
“It was the time of the supermodel, and everyone was wearing shorter dresses and more body-conscious dresses,” Azagury said of the dress she wore to “Swan Lake” at the Royal Albert Hall.
Azagury gifted the dress that Diana wore to the Tate Gallery on her 36th birthday, and she wrote him a thank-you letter that is also included in the auction, along with other notes from the princess and dress sketches.
However, the designer is holding on to one sentimental keepsake: a framed picture of her wearing three of the dresses.
“One of the most precious things that I have is a framed picture that the princess sent me the morning she was leaving for France, from which she never returned,” he remembered.
It said, “‘To Jacques, lots of love Diana.’ That I will be keeping all for myself.”
The dresses were sold for an undisclosed amount to the Los Angeles-based founder of the virtual Princess Diana Museum, which collector Renae Plant says was founded to “preserve her legacy.”
Azagury added, “She was always very excited by fashion, and she knew she would please so many people just waiting for her to come out in the next dress, whether they were waiting in the streets or watching her on the television. She took a long time, making sure that everything was just right, choosing the right shoes and jewelry.”
The Moroccan-born designer said he saw Diana reinvent herself after her divorce.
“After the breakup of the marriage, she rediscovered herself, and she turned into this unbelievably stunning woman. Not that she wasn’t before, but that’s when her personality really started to shine,” he said. “She had everything: the most amazing legs, that great hair, those blue eyes.”
Diana was, and is still, seen as a fashion icon and her clothes are often on exhibition and sometimes come up for auction.
In September, a famous sheep-patterned sweater that a newly engaged Diana wore to an event with Charles sold for a record $1.1 million at auction after it was found in an attic corner of the designer’s shop this year.
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