Diana: Her Fashion Story

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.

Diana: Her Fashion Story

 

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.

A Look At Four Beautiful Fashion Books

Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style

A book on fashion history. It sounds so dreamy – starting with draping, and ending with couture at the runways, there are plenty of illustrations, more trends than you can keep count of (because trends outlined in the book age three thousand years) and even pieces on ancient Egyptian fashion.

The evolution of fashion
The evolution of fashion

There are elements of fashionable grunge there too, which I have never particularly warmed to, but space age fashion gets a mention, which divinely sounds so technological and fun. The book wants to highlight that fashion designs in the West, have been influenced by design perceptions around the globe, and I agree because it is not everyday that people speak of kimonos and draping, in couture, but they are such important style ideas.

Vogue and The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People

When I think of Vogue, so many things come to my mind: a fashion magazine, Anna Wintour, Condé Nast, the Newhouses, a fashion bible, but it very rarely conjures the image of one of the grandest parties it is annually associated with: the Met Ball.

Celebrating the spirit of fashion

This book isn’t about any one Met Ball, it is about all the numerous ones that have been held over the years – I think my favourite would be that punk theme of 2013 because it was so not like the universe of Vogue staying away from grunge, it was about actually embracing it. Filled with gorgeous portraits, as well as fashion photoshoots at Vogue inspired by the ball, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute’s history, if you love the Met Ball, you will be thankful for getting the opportunity to take a look at it in infinite detail, in the book.

Tom Ford

When I first heard of Tom Ford, I was only a teenager, and I really loved a lot of the slinky clothes he had designed for Gucci (as creative director). Even though he is off running his own label now, “Tom Ford” – the book, provides an excellent look at his time spent altering a doomed Gucci, which at the time only made accessories, into a brand that very stylishly did seductive.

Documenting Tom Ford's time at YSL and Gucci (1994 - 2004)
Documenting Tom Ford’s time at YSL and Gucci (1994 – 2004)

With him as creative director, Gucci saw a driving up of sales figures, and eventually evolve into a recognizable luxury brand. The clothes he made were worth swooning over: they were glamorous, modern, and sometimes even just-perfect-Hollywood-material; I think the book is captivating enough, for proving a rare outlook on Tom Ford’s super sexy designs.

Fifty Dresses That Changed The World

British design cannot be considered complete without these infamous fifty dresses, listed in the book, and the list stretches a mile: it starts at 1915 and stops at 2007.

Special (and iconic) moments in fashion
Special (and iconic) moments in fashion

These dresses influence design enormously, which means that it is a part of beautiful designs that surround us everyday. I feel that a retrospect of Hollywood’s most celebrated fashion designs should always be in order because they are iconic, and they are so rare.