This week we introduce a new feature to the Packet, detailing some of the most interesting and exciting lots to come before Lay's Auctions in Penzance. Here, Mimi Connell-Lay talks us through a dress fit for a 'Queen' - and something a little racier also coming to auction. 

Lay’s Auctions in Penzance are no strangers to glamorous lots with fabulous backstories, as they are one of the countries leading auction houses who specialise in memorabilia relating to Diana, the late Princess of Wales.

Just last month they negotiated the private treaty sale of five dresses designed for Diana for an undisclosed six-figure sum.

The dresses came from the designer Jacques Azagury and next week in Lay’s Jewellery & Luxury Fashion Sale on December 7 and 8 they will be selling more glamorous items from Azagury’s archive.

The most notable is probably a famous frock worn by another very famous National Treasure, the incomparable Dame Helen Mirren.

Dame Helen wore this particular outfit, a strapless, floor-length evening gown in champagne silk taffeta, with a contrasting bolero jacket, in 2007 when she collected her BAFTA Best Actress award for her role in ‘The Queen’.

Falmouth Packet: Helen Mirren’s Bafta evening gown by Jacques Azagury Helen Mirren’s Bafta evening gown by Jacques Azagury (Image: Lay's Auctioneers)

She looked absolutely sensational in it and it was a ground breaking moment for the designer and Dame Helen. It led to an enduring relationship between them both, as Azagury dressed Mirren for many more red carpet moments and it also inspired a generation of older women by showing that women of a certain age could look sensational.

Jacques was just one of dozens of designers who vied to dress Mirren for the prestigious award ceremony. "They get sent as many as 200 dresses to choose from, and they come from Chanel, Gucci, all the top houses," he told Lay’s, "but I went to see her with just this one dress because I knew it would look completely fabulous on her, and she just loved it, and that was that.”

Falmouth Packet: Dame Helen Mirren won a Best Actress BAFTA for her role in The QueenDame Helen Mirren won a Best Actress BAFTA for her role in The Queen (Image: PA Images)

There’s no doubt, she did look wonderful in it and if you have a few spare thousands in the bank, the dress could be yours!

It will be auctioned this coming Friday, December 8, as lot 441 in Lay’s Jewellery & Luxury Fashion sale, which is held at their Lanner saleroom. It has an auction estimate of £2,000 to £4,000.

If evening gowns are not your thing, Jacques is also selling a rather racy scarlet corset he made for Kelly Brook when she performed in the Crazy Horse Burlesque show in Paris.

Falmouth Packet: Kelly Brook’s Crazy Horse corset by Jacques Azagury Kelly Brook’s Crazy Horse corset by Jacques Azagury (Image: Lay's Auctioneers)

It might not be quite the right thing to wear whilst serving the Christmas turkey, but it could make someone quite a sensational stocking filler!

The sale can be viewed online at or in person at Lay's Auctioneers, Church Row, Lanner, TR16 6ET between Monday and Wednesday (December 4 to 6), 9am to 5pm.