Vanity Fair’s Portraits of Royalty

All the phases of Diana’s sartorial life are represented in the sale—from Disco Di to Dynasty Di to Dedicated Di—and for collectors of celebrity couture who care only that the garments once came within a quivering millimeter of royal flesh, that may be enough. It will have to be—it’s not as if these exquisite rags reveal anything personal about the woman who wore them. Meredith Etherington-Smith, a former fashion-magazine editor who is now Christie’s group creative marketing director, described them to me as “mini-biographies.” Well, maybe. But what scenes have these seams seen? Film premieres? Equine pageants? Snore-inducing banquets? Ultimately, they’re empty shells—beautiful, shiny, marvelous to look at, but still . . . shells. And the fabulous creature who once occupied them? She’s packed up and moved on.

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August 20, 2021 | 7:26 pm