Picks and Pans Review: Princess Diana's Dresses

UPDATED 09/25/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 09/25/2000 at 01:00 AM EDT

Cinemax (Mon., Sept. 25, 9 p.m. ET)

In June 1997 Princess Diana, in a gesture meant to signify a more mature, morally alert sensibility, sold off 79 of her gowns at auction in New York City. What with the dresses, catalog sales and preview tickets, she raised more than $5 million for charity. (One dress, a beaded blue-and-black Jacques Azagury, was bought by PEOPLE for $26,450.) Two months later Diana was dead. The gowns, which in June represented enchanted fabric samples of her style, were now something else: swatches cut from the completed tapestry of her life.

Like virtually anything connected with Diana, whose natural charisma forced all eyes to swerve toward her like security cameras, this hour-long documentary, a coproduction with the BBC, is compulsively watchable. It catches up with a dozen or so buyers: a woman who raises miniature horses, a female urologist, a wedding gown designer. They all come across as nice, sensible people who bid out of a sense of admiration, to add to collections of Diana or simply to make an investment. They'd be unremarkable except for their connection-by-auction to the Force that was and is Princess Diana.

It's surprising, then, when the documentary suggests that these dresses are the equivalent of a saint's relics. There's no sense of passionate, mystical devotion here. On the other hand, the argument is put forward by a drag queen (and unsuccessful bidder). Maybe it's a joke.

Bottom Line: Fascinating material

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters