Sotheby’s inaugural Fashion Icons sale showcases a curated collection of influential fashion pieces, celebrating legendary figures, iconic events, and unparalleled creativity. The highlight of the sale is Princess Diana’s renowned Black Sheep Sweater, an iconic piece that has garnered media attention for over four decades. Diana wore this sweater, featuring a whimsical black and white sheep motif, in 1981 when she was newly engaged to Prince Charles. The media coverage of her wearing the sweater marked the remarkable launch of the designers’ knitwear business, ‘Warm and Wonderful.’
Following Diana’s initial appearance in the sweater, Buckingham Palace received a letter requesting a repair or replacement due to damage. The designers knitted a new sweater, which Diana graciously acknowledged. She wore the sweater again in 1983, continuing its prominence in fashion. The media’s fascination with the sweater increased its popularity and influenced broader fashion trends, leading to similar designs by other brands.
In 2020, Rowing Blazers’ founder, Jack Carlson, partnered with the original designers to reproduce the iconic sheep design. This collaboration received a positive response from consumers, underscoring Diana’s enduring influence on popular culture. Recently, in March 2023, the original Black Sheep Sweater worn by Diana was rediscovered in the attic by one of the designers. After meticulous examination and comparisons to 1981 photographs, Sotheby’s authenticated the sweater as the one worn by Princess Diana over 40 years ago.