Diana: Her Fashion Story, Reliving Princess Diana’s Best Looks

Diana: Her Fashion Story, a unique exhibit tracing the evolution of the Princess’s style “from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life”, is set to open at Kensington Palace, the former London home of Diana, Princess of Wales.

As we get ready to all back in love with her style once again, we take a look back at her most iconic looks.

Princess Diana’s Best Fashion Moments

Following her marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales, the former Lady Diana Spencer’s style underwent rapid changes as ‘Shy Di’ metamorphosed into ‘Dynasty Di’, replacing her teenage honeymooner’s uniform of knitwear and tweed with statement-shouldered lamé, velvet and satin showstoppers.

Encouraged by designers Bruce Oldfield and Catherine Walker, with whom she worked closely, Diana set the agenda for 1980s style, donning priceless chokers as flapper-style headpieces and tossing elegant strings of pearls down her equally elegant back. Who could forget the Edwardian-inspired velvet evening dress she wore to hit the White House dancefloor with John Travolta, or the pearl-studded dress and bolero ensemble dubbed ‘The Elvis Dress’ by the press?

L-R: On her wedding day in 1981, wearing an ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel; in Bruce Oldfield at the 1985 premiere of Burke and Wills in Melbourne, Australia; in Catherine Walker at the London premiere of Back to the Future, 1985  

Post-separation, and relieved of the obligation to shore up the British economy by shirking the wares of international designers, Diana’s style underwent a second revolution, as the Princess re-emerged from her royal cocoon clad in rainbow bright, bodycon designs by the likes of Gianni Versace and raised admiring eyebrows, as well as hemlines, in her instantly iconic take on the little black dress (quickly dubbed ‘The Revenge Dress’). Take a look back at some of Diana’s very best moments in style…


L-R: In David and Elizabeth Emanuel at a gala dinner dance in Melbourne, 1985; dancing with John Travolta at The White House in 1985, wearing a velvet gown designed by Victor Edelstein (later dubbed the ‘Travolta Dress’); in Catherine Walker’s ‘Elvis Dress’ at the 1989 British Fashion Awards

L-R: In Christina Stambolian (the ‘Revenge Dress’) at a Serpentine Gallery benefit in 1994; attending a gala dinner at the Petit Palais, Paris, in Christian Lacroix, 1995; inspecting the troops in a Gianni Versace suit and Philip Somerville pillbox hat, 1997

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