Going, Going, Gown!
Cheering, chortling and even booing, the crowd of 1,100 enjoyed itself to boot. By the time the sale ended at 9 p.m., buyers had forked over $3.26 million, destined for AIDS and breast-cancer charities. Added to the $2.5 million raised by catalog sales and tickets to previews in New York and London, the final tally was a tidy $5.76 million.
That "exceeded everyone's expectations," said Patricia Hambrecht, managing director of Christie's for North and South America. The most expensive dress, worn at a 1985 White House dinner during which Di danced with John Travolta, fetched $222,500 from a garment industry exec. Even the dress that drew groans—a blue chiffon by Emanuel—drew a respectable $27,600.
Just who plunked down such sums? Tomasso Buti, owner of the Fashion Cafes in New York and London, snapped up a gray silk Catherine Walker for $77,800 and a deep-pink Victor Edelstein for $36,400 to display in his restaurants. "More than owning a Princess Diana," he says, "you cannot do." Kate McEnroe, president of American Movie Classics, a cable-TV channel, paid more than $150,000 for three frocks that she plans to lend to museums. "We're happy we can bring a little bit of Princess Di to American women," says McEnroe.
Wedding-dress designer Pat Kerr, who has a collection of royal memorabilia, picked up four frocks for a total of about $150,000. But it was the amateurs who seemed to have the most fun: Roberta Hurtig, VP of a Boston-based consulting firm, and her sister Linda Sarna, an associate professor at UCLA, bid $20,000 for a red beaded number. "Di fans since the beginning," according to Hurtig, the two plan to share their size-8 booty. Says a jubilant Sarna: "It's going to be bicoastal."
MARIA EFTIMIADES, MARY GREEN, ELIZABETH McNEIL and MARIA SPEIDEL in Manhattan
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