Princess Diana, who is often regarded as having been a tragic princess, is so much more than all the controversies that surrounded her during her lifetime – she is also, importantly, about the clothes she wore and how that describes her long enduring love for fashion
In a new exhibition at Kensington Palace, some of Princess Diana’s most iconic dresses have been put on display and the sheer beauty of the clothes worn by the late princess is breathtaking, to say the least. Carefully selected dresses, ranging from evening wear to outfits Princess Di chose for work, reveal not only a shade of her personality, but also that fashion was an important matter to her – she never did sloppy, even when she did odd, particularly whilst channeling an eighties look of exaggerated shoulder pads.
The twenty-five dresses include a Versace ball gown, with motifs of Ancient Egypt in beads and an ink-blue velvet dress, which she had famously worn during her dance with John Travolta at the White House; it was surprising Diana could even dance in the gown given it was so heavy and stiff but it had remarkably complimented the princess’ beauty and elegance.
What I expected from Princess Diana’s entire fashion set at the Kensington Palace, was for it to not break too many royal social protocols but still largely be her own unique sense of style. Maintaining that delicate balance is not easy but I wasn’t disappointed – Diana had broken with country traditions, when she had gone hunting/fishing (with Prince Charles, following her ascension into the Royal Family) in a Bill Pashley two-piece of tweed, where the top was cut slightly into the style of a bomber jacket.
One of Princess Diana’s favourite fashion designers was Catherine Walker, whose creations she would regularly be seen in and a good few of them are part of the latest fashion showcase. From a pearl-encrusted sheath evening dress, which came with a matching dinner jacket of sorts, to a sequinned dress made in the style of clothes worn in Dynasty (one of the greatest soap operas from the eighties), the clothes seemed to me more memorable than particularly extraordinary. But that is the whole point because these fashion creations are meant to compliment Princess Diana’s natural good looks, her power, her status, and also define who this modern day princess was.