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Diana: The style moments that made her a fashion icon

We look at Diana’s incredible style progression

It’s 23 years ago this August since Princess Diana’s untimely death, but her status as a fashion icon is stronger than ever.

Whether it be her face emblazoned on Rihanna’s T-shirt, or hordes of hipsters breathing new life into Diana’s definitive Sloane Ranger look, her connection to the fashion world endures.

From her wedding dress to the ‘revenge dress’, and with the odd tuxedo thrown in for good measure, we doff our John Boyd hats to her eternal fashion legacy and look back at key moments that helped shape the People’s Princess into the Queen of British style…

The engagement dress – and the wedding dress

Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in the grounds of Buckingham Palace after announcing their engagement

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer following their engagement

The royal couple posed for photos in the grounds of Buckingham Palace as they officially announced their engagement to the world. Diana wore a demure royal blue ensemble, which echoed the colours of her – now Kate’s – sapphire and diamond ring. She’d bought the modest outfit from Harrods.

‘Shy Di’, as she was then referred to in the press, was finding her feet in the world of fashion, but at the tender age of 20 was applying some caution.

Diana at Buckingham Palace in her wedding dress

Diana in her wedding dress

Her professional relationship with the Welsh fashion designer David Emanuel began when he designed her a strapless black dress for her first official engagement at Goldsmith’s Hall in London, and culminated in her extraordinary wedding dress.

The dress was a gigantic mass of ivory silk taffeta and antique lace, with a 25ft train. It was deliberately dramatic and launched Diana into a new era of dressing.

The glam Di of the Eighties

Diana attending the ‘Biggles’ premiere at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square

Diana at the ‘Biggles’ premiere in London

Diana embraced the bold, broad cuts of Eighties fashion, much like Joan Collins’ Alexis Carrington in TV show Dynasty.

She was often seen in ruched silk, sequins, bows and overly-padded shoulders, and collaborated with classic British designers like Bruce Oldfield and Catherine Walker to give these bright colours and fabrics an overall elegance.

Diana at the Royal premiere of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in London

Diana at the Royal premiere of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom in London

She was bringing glamour back to the Royal family, helping put their frumpy image to bed.

Diana knew how to dress down too

Diana tours a minefield in body armour to see for herself the carnage mines cause, during her visit to Angola

Diana tours a minefield in Angola

While we remember Diana as a doting mother and humanitarian, even when she was fulfilling these duties, she managed to do so in style. She was as much at home in a pair of chinos and a simple white blouse, as she was in crushed velvet and pearls.

Diana carries a bag for her son, Prince William, as they leave the Arlberg Hotel in Lech, Austria

Diana carries a bag for her son, Prince William, as they leave the Arlberg Hotel in Lech, Austria

Who can forget her walking through the Angolan minefields in a pair of stone-coloured slacks and a crisp white shirt? And her Wetherby school-run Sloane style continues to inspire the cool young things today, who are embracing normcore and pulling on their mom jeans.

Suited and booted

Diana at the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral

Diana at the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral

Just like Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Diana wasn’t scared of masculine tailoring. She was known to dabble with the occasional tuxedo or bow tie – a daring move for someone who was under societal pressure to always look demure and feminine, but one that certainly cemented her position on the fashion map.

Diana leaving St Mary's Hospital in Paddington after visiting her brother's newborn son

Diana leaving St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington after visiting her brother’s newborn son

She made like musician David Byrne in oversized yuppie-styled suits, and was the first female royal to wear trousers to an evening function – although she did give her outfits a twist with heels and statement jewellery pieces. Diana never did what was expected of her sartorially.

The ‘revenge’ dress

Diana arrives in the 'revenge dress' at the Serpentine's Summer party

Diana arrives at the Serpentine in the ‘revenge dress’

Who wouldn’t recognise Diana’s ‘revenge dress’, the Christina Stambolian-designed take on the LBD? Diana allegedly thought the dress too risqué when it was originally designed for her three years prior to the Serpentine Summer Party in 1994, but the night of the party, an ITV documentary, aired in which Prince Charles appeared to admit his infidelity with Camilla Parker Bowles – Diana decided to seize the moment.

It became her most iconic fashion moment, turning heads in the off-the-shoulder number which she accessorized with a pearl choker, heels and sheer black tights. It was a turning point in Diana’s style chronicles, and saw her well and truly shake off the ‘Shy Di’ moniker.

Diana with ballerinas from the English National Ballet after they gave a gala performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall

Diana with ballerinas from the English National Ballet after they gave a gala performance of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall

Diana was in her 30s, looking good and feeling confident, thanks in part to the help of designers Jacques Azagury and her dear friend, the late Gianni Versace. She was maturing into a powerful and stylish independent woman.

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Munsterlander
9th Aug 2017
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Thanks for voting!
She was a very beautiful lady

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