Princess Diana's iconic 'John Travolta Dress' sells for $290,000


One of Princess Diana's most iconic dresses will make a return to Kensington Palace after being sold for $290,000 this week.

The midnight-blue Victor Edelstein gown that the royal wore during a November 1985 visit to the White House was purchased by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces after initially failing to sell with Kerry Taylor auctions on Dec. 9. The gown, which the princess paired with a regal pearl sapphire choker, quickly became one of the royal's most famous looks after photos of her dancing and twirling with actor John Travolta during a reception held by President Reagan surfaced.

The dress will join the organization’s Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which features more than 10,000 royal artifacts dating back to the 16h century and will likely either be stored in Hampton Court or Kensington Palace. It’s rumored to be joining an exhibition at Kensington Palace, where Diana resided from 1981 and after her divorce from Prince Charles. Historic Royal Palaces currently has one of Princess Diana’s favorite dresses on display right now: A Catherine Walker evening gown that she first wore in 1987 and many times after.

A close-up of the late royal's gown at the auction (Getty)

Curator Eleri Lynn has called the famous Edelstein gown a "key moment in the story of 20th-century royal fashion."

She said:

"We’re delighted to have acquired this iconic evening gown for the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection — a designated collection of national and international importance — over twenty years since it first left Kensington Palace... The photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales dancing with John Travolta at the White House wearing this midnight blue Victor Edelstein gown are known the world over, with the dress’s twirling velvet skirt playing no small part in making this such a memorable image."

Diana had worn the off-the-shoulder gown many times after that 1985 visit, but she later auctioned off the gown in June 1987 along with 78 other outfits to help raise money for charity.