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Princess Diana's iconic 'black sheep' jumper breaks records as it sells for more than $1 million

The late Princess of Wales's famous farmyard knit went under the hammer at Sotheby's on Thursday

Princess Diana wearing red sheep jumper
Orin Carlin
Orin CarlinContent Writer
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Much as contemporary fashion fans try to emulate her outfits, there's something inimitable about Princess Diana's style. 

Capturing the spirit of her sometimes quirky off-duty looks is a tricky beast to nail – no one did it quite like the princess.

But now, a Princess Diana style superfan can quite literally embody her dress sense, as her iconic black sheep sweater, created by knitwear label Warm & Wonderful, just sold for a record amount via Sotheby's in New York.

MORE: Princess Diana's most iconic winter outfits

READ: How Princess Diana's style still has an impact in 2023 according to 6 fashion insiders

Princess Diana wearing red sheep jumper © Getty
The princess first wore the piece back in 1981

Originally expected to fetch between $50,000 and $80,000, the vibrant red jumper – which features rows of cute white sheep with one contrasting black one as its focal point – sold for an incredible $1.1 million (£920,000). That's more than 14 times the asking price. 

The winning bidder, who remains unidentified, must be pleased to have set a new world record for the largest sum ever paid at auction for a piece of knitwear (the previous record, set in 2019, was $334,000 for a green cardigan worn by late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain).

As well, it's officially the most expensive item of Diana's clothing to have ever gone under the hammer, beating out a purple Victor Edelstein evening gown that sold for $604,800 at auction earlier this year. 

Princess Diana first debuted the stylish farmyard-themed sweater in 1981 when she wore it to watch her then-fiancé Prince Charles play polo.

MORE: 10 iconic Princess Diana street style moments

READ: Audrey Hepburn and Princess Diana's most iconic dresses are up for auction

Princess Diana wearing red sheep jumper © Getty
She styled the piece with white trousers

The playful design was created by Sally Muir and Joanna Osbourne, who established their knitwear label, Warm & Wonderful, in 1979. Extensive media coverage of Princess Diana's stylish knit catapulted their independent brand into the fashion stratosphere.

A few weeks after the jumper's famous outing, the brand received a letter from Buckingham Palace seeking either a repair or a replacement, explaining that the knit has been damaged. 

Warm & Wonderful obliged, sending a new piece and reuniting Princess Diana with her much-loved sheep design. 

Princess Diana's red sheep jumper © Getty
The jumper is going up for auction via Sotheby's

The designers assumed the original piece had been repaired and sent out to a different customer until March of this year. Joanna was searching through her attic when she came across a box containing the sheep sweater and after extensive analysis, Sotheby's auction house confirmed that the piece once belonged to the princess. 

'Investment knitwear' just got a whole new meaning...

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