While ‘cold shoulder’ or Bardot tops and dresses are all the rage this festive season, Princess Diana was clearly ahead of her times in the style stakes. As one of the major fashion icons of the 20th century, what she wore had a huge influence on design.

So, it’s little wonder that rare items from the princess’s wardrobe have been selling for tens of thousands. Now, a rare crushed purple velvet Bruce Oldfield worn by the princess during a trip to Portugal has sold at auction for £56,250, although it did not reach its expected sale price of £70,000.

Princess Diana opted to wear the dress, designed by Bruce Oldfield during an official visit to Portugal in 1987, along with her then husband Prince Charles.

Highland Games

Meanwhile, a turquoise Catherine Walker frock which Princess Diana wore during a trip to Australia and New Zealand, sold for £5,250 when it had been expected to reach only £1,000. The third lot from Princess Diana’s wardrobe, a checked gown worn at Highland Games in Scotland in 1982, made £8,875, just short of the £9,000 guide price at the auction in London. Dresses worn by Princess Margaret also went on sale at the auction.

The auction follows an exhibition held at Kensington Palace, which featured the clothes which made her a global style icon. Diana: Her Fashion Story showcased some of the most famous dresses worn by the princess, including a blue velvet dress worn when she danced with actor John Travolta at The White House.

The exhibition traced Princess Diana’s style as it evolved from being demure and almost matron-like to the more glamorous, sexier style that become her trademark as she became more comfortable wearing what she wanted to later in life. The princess died in a car crash in Paris as she was being chased by photographers in 1997.