Princess Diana's dresses on display at the Home and Garden Show

6:27 PM, Feb 23, 2012   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

St. Louis (KSDK) - The 35th Annual Builders Home and Garden Show is now underway at America's Center, and one exhibitor is drawing more attention than others.

It's an exhibit you might not typically see among storm windows and roofing supplies.

No doubt, year after year the Home and Garden Show is the place to find the coolest faucets, fireplaces and even fun ideas for an outdoor chandelier, but as exhibitors staple, saw and slide things into place one woman is putting the final touches on an exhibit that seems sort out of place.

"We have, of course, the famed John Travolta dress where so many people saw her dancing with John Travolta in the White House, so historically that was important," said Maureen Dunkel.

Dunkel bought 13 of Princess Diana's dresses eight weeks before her tragic death, oddly enough, for an investment. She had no plans to take them on tour.

"When she died we decided, we felt we had a very powerful tool on our hands and we commissioned a full exhibition on her life to be built," said Dunkel.

It's an exhibit that has now been on display more than 20 times.

"The dresses themselves spent 10 years in Kensington Palace as part of the "Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection," said Dunkel.

But the Home and Garden Show isn't exactly Kensington Palace.

"We just like to have something a little bit unexpected to kind of break up the windows and doors and shopping and give people a little bit of fun," said Ellen Viehmann, who helps with the show.

Diana, the People's Princess Exhibit, should do just that, however, packing and unpacking the pricey pieces is less fun.

"There's a protocol and they're packed in acid free tissue paper, in specially corrugated dress boxes that are then wrapped heavily in waterproof plastic, then they're put into a solid crate that was built especially for them," said Dunkel.

After all, she did buy them for an investment, and in case you were wondering, one dress is pricier than the rest.

"Oh yes, it's the John Travolta dress. That dress has been appraised at a very high number," said Dunkel.

It's worth more than $1 million, which I guess makes everything else at the Home and Garden Show seem like a steal.



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