The late Princess Diana's personal style is so legendary; years after her death, it is just as significant, if not more so. While her 'revenge' dress and crown jewels have gained mass publicity through the years, not many know about her famous 'Black Sheep' sweater. In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer was snapped by photographers when she accompanied her then-fiance, King Charles III to watch a polo match. She wore a bright red knitted sweater with a white sheep pattern covering its entirety, with only a single black knitted sheep visible in the front. Paired with jeans and red pumps, it was off-duty style at its finest, much before the term was even coined. However, for the Princess, it was more than just a stylish moment.
Decades after her death, Spencer's fashion choices are being studied through a microscope, so to speak. Many speculated that perhaps, her sweater meant to convey her relationship as a black sheep in the British royal family. Others believed that was reading too finely between the lines. What it did prove with certainly is the influence that Diana had over the fashion sphere and continues to have even today.
The Princess' 'Black Sheep' sweater will be the headlining item for Sotheby's Fashion Icons auction, which is set to take place between August 31 and September 14 this year. It is estimated to be auctioned at $50,000 to $80,000, which is approximately Rs 40,00,000 to Rs 65,00,000. Spencer's original sweater was designed by London-based brand Warm & Wonderful. It was recently rediscovered by the brand's founders Sally Muir and Joanna Osbourne, where it was safely tucked away in their attic.
After her first Polo outing in the sweater, Buckingham Palace informed the brand that Diana had damaged her sweater and requested for a repair or replacement. When the Palace returned the sweater back to the brand, Warm & Wonderful promptly knitted a replacement for her and received a letter of gratitude for their efforts. The Princess wore the new sweater for another Polo match in 1982.
Though the brand stopped producing the Black Sheep style in 1994, it resumed its sale in 2020, which is now available through their website. Termed the Women's "Diana Edition" Sheep Sweater, it is a lightweight version of the original design and costs approximately Rs 16,000.