So, continuing with my smitten self for Diana, Princess of Wales, I wanna talk about that one aspect for which she was famous, globally. FASHION!!!
Princess Diana’s fashion evolution was slow but eventual. It was a pretty hard task to decode the sartorial sense of this royal diva. It took four days of extensive research to study, analyse and pick her best outfits for this post. Though, Princess Diana’s public life was short, spanning from 1980 when she started dating Prince Charles to 1997 when she met her sudden end in Paris. But to study her fashion, is quite a task as she was very active on social parties and events. Not only that, but her random appearances on Polo matches, picking and dropping Prince William and Harry from school and her exquisite holidays were also fashion forward.
So, she had engaged every royal and fashion journalist, editors of major fashion magazines, A-list designers and fashion-crazy people like me, of course, to keep an eye on her outfits. She knew that first impression is the last impression. So she always made sure, whether coming out of a plane or a car, to look glamorous.
But that was soon to change as she was introduced to the world as the fiance of future king of England, Prince Charles. She wore this beautifully tailored blue pussy coat with a below the knee pencil skirt and a ruffled high-neck white shirt. She looked like a breath of fresh air, a new addition to the mighty royal family.
And then came the official engagement day of future Princess Diana and Prince Charles at the Goldsmiths Hall in London. Lady Diana wore this strapless silk taffeta gown which came as a surprise for the fashion police. As a future member of the royal family, you are supposed to dress in a conservative manner. But surely, Lady Diana, a 19 year old, was too young to understand that.
But it was about to change on July, 1981. As the future princess learned her lesson of the black strapless fiasco, she regained her style status as she stepped out of that carriage in an Elizabeth Emanuel antique lace wedding dress which was complete with a 25-foot train of ivory silk taffeta. This dress captured the extravagance of the eighties era and was one of the most guarded secrets in fashion history. It is said that the dress was made in a room whose windows were covered so that no outsider gets a peek of the dress!
Princess Diana, as we now know her, a rebellious royal, shunned the formal maternity wear of the royal family and donned this elegant and comfortable slouchy pink number. She was nine-months pregnant.
And then came the big day. Continuing with her ‘rebellious’ nature, Princess Diana did, what no other royal has ever dared to. She gave birth to Prince William in a hospital. And when Prince William was introduced to the world, Princess Di wore this beautiful v-neck polka dot green dress which complemented her post-pregnancy glow!
Princess Diana was very young, as we know, when she got married to Prince Charles. This shy princess had a style which every woman in her early twenties have- a girly style! She wore a lot of girly dresses which portrayed her reserved persona.
Diana was not very confident in her early years as a Princess. She trusted not her style sense but that of the designers. She would often ask for their advises to dress for events. She was very apprehensive when it came to dressing. But even then, her style was top-notch! As seen here, Princess Diana wore a white asymmetric gown covered in single bugle beads by Hachi. Diana wore this dress to the London premiere of James Bond movie, Octopussy in June 1983.
Diana loved to experiment with her looks. In the Spring of 1983, she along with Prince Charles and Prince William, went on a royal tour of Australia. She wore this gorgeous Emanuel sparkling turquoise dress at a black tie dance. What was the center of attraction here, was her diamond necklace worn as a headband. Daring!
On December of 1983, Diana chose this ‘classic Diana’ look for Christmas Day. To sum up Diana’s royal style, this look is perfect. Diana had a thing for classic, tailored coats with pencil skirts, kitten heels and British hats. She can be seen rocking this combination during the 12 years of her marriage with Prince Charles.
But it were her evening gowns which were the most talked about among her various looks. Seen here in a Bruce Oldfield gown, Diana shimmered at Dr Barnado’s charity gala, of which she was the president.
By this time, in the mid Eighties, Diana had discovered her style. She walked around confidently in her enviable dresses. In 1985, when she attended the Victorian State Government reception on a royal tour of Australia, the Princess wore a wide-neck dress in one of her favorite colors- crimson, which she paired with a gold clutch and matching earrings.
In November 1985, when she visited America, she attended the White House State dinner, in which she danced with John Travolta. She wore this stunning midnight blue Victor Edelstein gown. This dress is talked about for its ethereal looks.
In 1986, when she toured Saudi Arabia, she kept the conservative culture of the country in mind and wore this custom-made Catherine Walker dress. Walker was one of her favorite designers. This white gown with a monochromatic sash relates to the classic heritage of the British Monarchy.
A striking quality of Princess Diana was her regards for local culture of the countries she visited. When she was in Saudi Arabia, she went on a desert picnic and knew that she had to sit cross-legged there. She chose this dress. All hail the Princess!
In 1988, when she went for a royal tour of France accompanying her husband, Prince Charles, Diana chose this Victor Edelstein strapless dress with a matching bolero. She looked chic and royal with just the right curves showed by this dress.
One of her most talked about dresses was this strapless, floral taffeta pleated dress by Catherine Walker which she wore to the royal premiere of When the Wales Came in London in 1989. Princess Diana had a huge collection of classic jewellery pieces but her choker necklaces were to die for.
The ‘Elvis’ dress, which Diana nicknamed herself, for obvious reasons, has to be my favorite among the swathes of exquisite gowns that she owned. This Catherine Walker dress, embroidered with pearls and sequins which she wore at the British Fashion Awards, stole the show. The big collars of the dress made it stand out more.
The fun part of Diana’s fashion evolution is yet to begin. It was after the news of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker having an affair were circulating around the globe, that Diana shed her conservative style and forayed into the sultry world. Here, she is seen in a sexy navy blue dress which she wore at the Royal Albert Hall in 1991. The low neckline was the talk of the town! And if you are Princess Diana, you do it with a choker!
In 1991, when the Princess visited India, she wore this color-block trend dress to Taj Mahal. Everybody thought of it as a fashion debacle but after the pictures came out, it became clear why the Princess chose this dress. Against the white background, this color-block dress stood out. Even the bright local dresses of Indian women looked dull in front of Princess Di’s carefully chosen dress! She knew it all!
And now comes the most controversial dress of Princess Di. When the scandalous books and tapes were doing the rounds, Diana stole the show in this LBD designed by Christina Stambolian. She wore it at the Serpentine Gallery in 1994. The press nicknamed it as the ‘revenge’ dress!
As a British royal, you are supposed to wear British fashion designers to promote British fashion. But after she divorced Prince Charles, Diana experimented with various designers, namely, Versace, Valentino, Christian Lacroix, Moschino etc. She wore this LWD by Versace, at a charity event in Milan in 1995.
Termed as the most photographed woman of the world, Diana did everything in uber chic style.
The people’s Princess was beauty and brains, rolled into one! Though, they say that Princess Catherine is matching up to Di’s image, she still has large shoes to fill!