Designers flocked at the chance of dressing Princess Diana, and her dress sense changed throughout her life as a royal and after her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. But her eye for fashion was clear from the outset when Diana posed in a tailored blue suit that matched her new sparkler for her engagement photocall in 1981. Express.co.uk spoke to Megan Watkins, SilkFred’s Head Stylist, about Diana’s most iconic fashion moments.
Lady Diana Spencer’s blue suit
In February 1981, Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles posed for pictures on the grounds of Buckingham Palace, and Diana debuted the famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring that now belongs to Kate Middleton.
Ms Watkins explained: “When Princess Diana and Prince Charles got engaged in 1981, the soon-to-be Princess stepped out in a beautiful blue ensemble from Harrods, marking the first power suit of many, complete with a neckerchief and shoulder pads.
“Whilst this look is early on in Diana’s time in the spotlight, it marked the beginning of her style journey from twee upper-class girl to era-defining icon and is a well-recognised look of the ‘people’s princess’.”
Princess Diana’s wedding dress
Lady Diana Spencer emerged at St Paul’s Cathedral wearing one of the most famous royal wedding gowns ever in 1981.
Designed by the Emanuels, the dress had been made in secret amid intense public scrutiny over what the bride would wear on her big day.
SilkFred’s expert said: “Perhaps one of the most recognised wedding dresses of all time, Princess Diana certainly embraced her Princess title in this gorgeous ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown with a cathedral-style 25-foot train and an astonishing 153-yard tulle veil which captured hearts all around the world.”
Ms Watkins added that the gown “set a benchmark for wedding dresses in the 1980s” and the style was embraced by many brides “who wanted their own fairytale.”
Princess Diana’s gingham trousers
During a photoshoot at her country residence of Highgrove House in the mid-1980s, Diana delighted in a pair of trousers that remain a huge hit with fashion fans today.
Ms Watkins explained: “Princess Diana channelled true British country girl chic in these adorable pink gingham three-quarter length trousers and a white blouse and hot pink cardigan worn for a photo shoot in July 1986.
“This look encapsulates what Diana did so effortlessly with her looks, which was bringing a contemporary feel to traditional style, making her own mark in royal fashion history.”
Princess Diana’s ‘revenge dress’
On the night Prince Charles admitted to infidelity in an ITV documentary, Diana attended an event at the Serpentine Gallery – and her outfit choice said it all.
Diana donned a black dress with a plunging neckline which she accessorised with a statement sapphire and pearl choker.
Ms Watkins added: “Undoubtedly the look that made the most headlines for Princess Diana was this black off-the-shoulder Christina Stambolian gown she wore to the Serpentine Gallery summer party in 1994.
“Most commonly known as the ‘revenge dress’, Diana stepped out in this slinky cocktail dress the same night a documentary aired in which Prince Charles confessed to his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, cementing it in the Royal Family’s fashion history forever.”
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Princess Diana’s gym gear
In the last years of her life, Diana was often snapped attending a gym in Chelsea, and she even managed to make her athletic wear fashionable.
Ms Watkins said of the famous ensemble: “Whilst Princess Diana wore many gowns and power suits in the spotlight, she officially made athleisure-wear on trend with this Harvard University jumper and cycling shorts combo whilst leaving her gym, the Chelsea Harbour Club in 1997.
“To this day, the iconic photographs of Diana in this look will always circulate on Pinterest and Instagram in autumn time, hailed as the ultimate autumnal country club chic.”