Princess Diana's iconic black sheep sweater, worn during a memorable outing in 1981, has been auctioned off at Sotheby's during New York Fashion Week for a staggering 1.1 million dollars.
The bidding frenzy lasted just 15 minutes, with the winning bid reaching a remarkable 1.143 million dollars.
This astonishing result far exceeded the initial auction estimate, which had placed the sweater's value in the range of 50,000 dollars to 80,000 dollars.
The iconic black sheep sweater was put up for auction by Sotheby's in June, reigniting fascination with the garment that Diana had worn at the age of 19.
On that historic day in 1981, she watched Prince Charles play polo, just a month before their momentous royal wedding at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
The sweater's design, featuring a black sheep amidst a sea of white ones, carried profound symbolism.
Cynthia Houlton, Sotheby’s Global Head of Fashion and Accessories, described it as "an obvious metaphor for not quite fitting in. But also, that it’s okay to stand out and be different."
The fascinating journey of the sweater began when it was discovered in storage over four decades later by one of the designers behind the British knitwear brand Warm & Wonderful, Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne, who originally created the piece.
Osborne excitedly shared her discovery, saying, "I was in the attic in February searching for a pattern, and I just happened to notice this old wine box in a corner — and there was a red sheep jumper wrapped in a cotton bedspread. It was well preserved, and I had a kind of Groundhog Day moment and thought, 'Could this be the one?' I looked at the cuff which had obviously been sewn back on, and I called Sal and said, 'I think I’ve found the actual real Diana jumper!’"
Sotheby's decision to auction this remarkable piece was further heightened by the serendipitous nature of its rediscovery.
Houlton commented, "They very randomly came across this sweater; it's not like they were sitting on this sweater for some period of time and then decided who they should sell it to."