Last week, the world marked the twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death. While Princess Di and fashion are inextricably linked, it can be hard to categorize her personal style. Her style, so of the times, varied in a wonderfully unpredictable way. Despite this, her wardrobe had a few themes: bold colors and patterns, relaxed off-duty, and romance. While the garments themselves may not seem linked, they almost all fell into one of these categories.
In her official roles, she often opted for smartly tailored suits in bold colors and patterns. Take the suit she wore in Hong Kong and again for the infamous image in front of the Taj Mahal. This skirt suit consisted of a bright purple skirt, white blouse, and blazing red jacket pulled together with a matching purple hat with red ribbon. These colors and bold clashing were typical of Diana’s official style with suits and ball gowns in bright, bold colors nearly always making an appearance.
If she wasn’t wearing a bold color, she was probably wearing a bold print, instead. She wore a bright red plaid skirt suit in the nineties looking like the royal version of Clueless while she was spotted in polka dots more than once. She took power-clashing to the max in a herringbone skirt suit with the bold pattern in black on the skirt and red on the jacket. Even some of her gowns featured bold patterns. Between the bright colors and patterns she favored, it’s clear that Princess Diana was not afraid of fashion.
When she wasn’t out on official duties, she opted for a relaxed look. Again, these choices were perhaps unexpected from a British Princess as she gravitated towards oversized sweatshirts and jeans. Even on her more informal official duties, she opted for a casually put-together look. Chinos or white jeans with a nice top and jacket made up her less formal uniform.
Finally, some of her most iconic looks came at her most formal. When it came to evening gowns, especially in the early years, she opted for romantic ball gowns and pretty pastels. She sported light pink often, a pretty color on the fair princess and, again she wasn’t afraid of fashion: wide, eighties shoulders, asymmetrical one-shoulder dresses, and even the low-cut, tight mini-dresses of the later years.
Diana loved fashion and fashion loved Diana. Even today, despite the eighties and nineties look to many of her most beloved looks, she continues to inspire generations of young girls and women with her fearless looks. Though the catwalks may not always feature something that screams Diana due to the timeliness of many of her looks, her influence creeps in. For Autumn/Winter 2017, tweed, a classic favorite of Diana’s, featured prominently in both Stella McCartney and Mulberry’s collections while Valentino captured her bold colors with a long red dress and bright pink coat. Temperley London gave her penchant for oversized sweaters a makeover and we can totally see Princess Diana in the periwinkle blue sweater and long, sequined skirt. Christopher Kane managed to incorporate both the romantic Di and the sexy Di in his collection and Marchesa featured many bold evening looks we could picture the Princess in. One thing’s certain: while we may have lost the People’s Princess twenty years ago, we never lost her influence on fashion.