Princess Diana's Daring Black Dress Up for Auction

06/08/2010 at 09:30 AM ET

Anwar Hussein/WireImage

It is the dress that launched the young blushing Lady Diana Spencer onto the world as not only Prince Charles’ fiancée, but also as a budding fashion icon who dared to break the royal rules by wearing black to a formal event other than a funeral. The black taffeta gown, worn by Diana in March 1981, also put the young design team of David and Elizabeth Emanuel on the map, beginning a partnership that culminated in the princess-to-be’s much-copied wedding dress. Today, the gown–and a prototype of the fairytale bridal dress–are being auctioned off in London and estimated to fetch up to $150,000. Posing with the black dress Monday, Elizabeth Emanuel reminisced to PEOPLE of the night that the 19-year-old Diana became a front-page star as she joined Prince Charles for her first official appearance with him. “This was really a shadow of what she was to become in terms of a fashion icon,” Emanuel says. “It was the first time that people had seen her looking like a princess. Like a movie star. And grown up.” Despite there being a big political story that day, the emerging Diana “took over all of the front pages,” Emanuel recalls. Soon, it became obvious that the palace would have to confirm what the Emanuels already knew — that they were to make Diana’s wedding dress. And, the history of that creation is included in the sale going live this morning, via London’s Kerry Taylor Auctions. –Simon Perry

Joel Saget/AFP/Getty

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ellen on

I just loved this young lady, she was so elegant and just brought a smile to our generation. Her death was so sad and needless being hounded and chased as she was,just for a phot op 2 boys grew up w/o their mom and a nation w/o their princess. She was such a humanitarian it’s sad because so much more good could have been done by her had she not been murdered by paps.May she RIP.

debbie on

I miss her. Such class and grace. I wish the boys still had their mom.

Elda on

i miss her so much, my poor babys. beautiful dress.

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luscious on

what daring about it is that it’s black and royals didn’t wear black unless to attend a funeral. she was loved for a lot of things like breaking with protocol.

dhd on

I was fortunate enough to see the traveling Diana tribute/exhibit recently that included several of her famous gowns but the wedding dress had to take the cake!! With that long train and tiara it was just a breathtaking as it was on her wedding day so long ago!!

K on

B, you’re so right, though I think you mean “stiff” upper lip.

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Imelda Agbayani-Estrelles on

MISS HER SO MUCH TILL TODAY! I can’t stop crying when I heard or read something about her tragic death. My heart goes to her boys. SHE WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED as great mother with BIG HEART to poor people in the world, a great fashion icon.

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