DIANA’S FINEST FASH­ION MO­MENTS

A closer look at the evo­lu­tion of a style icon

Montreal Gazette - - YOU - SYLVIA HUI

Tiaras and se­quined ball gowns, ruf­fled bows and shoul­der pads — and who can for­get that fairy tale wed­ding dress, a fluffy taffeta con­fec­tion spilling its huge train down the aisle of St. Paul’s Cathe­dral?

From frilly frocks to power suits, much of what Diana wore has be­come the by­word for the lav­ish ex­trav­a­gance of the ’80s. Her style evolved through the years, but for many she em­bod­ies what clas­sic princess style looks like. Two decades af­ter she died in a 1997 Paris car crash, Diana’s clothes are still mak­ing head­lines: An ex­hi­bi­tion of her dresses at Lon­don’s Kens­ing­ton Palace this year drew long wait­ing lines on its open­ing day.

“She was so stylish, she was re­ally brave with the clothes she wore,” said Anne Cam­pion from Dublin, one of those at­tend­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion. “You look at her clothes now and they’re so clas­sic. … I think her clothes and her style, you could wear them to­day.”

A look at some of Diana’s most mem­o­rable fash­ion mo­ments:

WED­DING DRESS OF THE CEN­TURY

Diana’s 1981 wed­ding to Prince Charles was watched by hun­dreds of mil­lions around the world, and she couldn’t have worn a more sump­tu­ous dress for the oc­ca­sion. The silk taffeta gown with a 25-foot (7.6-me­tre) train by David and El­iz­a­beth Emanuel fea­tured ro­man­tic bil­low­ing sleeves, bows, lace and 10,000 mother-of-pearl se­quins.

HON­EY­MOON TWEED

For a hon­ey­moon photo in Scot­land in 1981, Charles wore his kilt while Diana chose a brown tweed woollen dress suit by de­signer Bill Pash­ley, a nod to the royal fam­ily ’s tra­di­tional coun­try wear.

SHARP TUXEDO

In 1984, Diana sur­prised her fans when she ditched pretty dresses and sported a white din­ner jacket, black trousers and a black bow tie for a char­ity con­cert by the band Gen­e­sis.

DY­NASTY DI

Many of Diana’s looks fea­tured over­sized shoul­der pads — the de rigueur ac­ces­sory of the day, in the style of the Amer­i­can soap opera Dy­nasty. In 1985, the princess daz­zled with a dra­matic sil­ver-pleated Bruce Old­field gown, com­plete with huge shoul­ders and a cut-out back.

BLUE VEL­VET AT THE WHITE HOUSE

The off-shoul­der, ink blue vel­vet gown that Diana wore at a 1985 White House state din­ner, where she was fa­mously pho­tographed danc­ing with John Tra­volta, re­mains one of her best-known out­fits. The dress sold for a whop­ping 240,000 pounds ($388,000) at auc­tion in 2013.

THE ELVIS DRESS

Diana turned to a slim­mer, more tai­lored sil­hou­ette to­ward the late 1980s. For an of­fi­cial visit to Hong Kong in 1989, Cather­ine Walker, one of Diana’s favourite de­sign­ers, cre­ated a white silk strap­less dress en­crusted with peals and se­quins, with a match­ing bolero jacket. The out­fit was dubbed the Elvis dress be­cause it re­minded many of Elvis Pres­ley.

THE RE­VENGE DRESS

One of Diana’s most talked­about out­fits had to be the fig­ure­hug­ging, low-cut lit­tle black dress the princess wore to a Ser­pen­tine Gallery party in 1996. The me­dia dubbed it her re­venge dress, be­cause it was the same night Charles ad­mit­ted on tele­vi­sion that he was hav­ing an af­fair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Greek fash­ion de­signer Christina Stam­bo­lian re­port­edly said Diana ini­tially thought the dress “too dar­ing” and only opted for it at the last minute.

CHAR­ITY CA­SUAL

In the 1990s, Diana of­ten ap­peared in power suits and more ca­sual out­fits for her char­ity work. For trips to An­gola and Bos­nia, she chose khaki or black capri trousers and sim­ple shirts with rolled-up sleeves to show that she wanted the fo­cus to be on her work rather than her fash­ion.

SLEEK CON­FI­DENCE

Diana’s out­fits in­creas­ingly ex­uded con­fi­dence in the mid-1990s, with the princess choos­ing more pared-down, lower cut and shorter styles. In June 1997, on one of her last public en­gage­ments, she vis­ited the Royal Al­bert Hall for a Swan Lake per­for­mance dressed in a low-cut, ice-blue pen­cil mini dress by French de­signer Jacques Aza­gury.

AP

Diana in Lon­don in 1996. The same day Prince Charles ad­mit­ted he was un­faith­ful to Diana in a TV in­ter­view, she ap­peared in what was dubbed her re­venge dress: a fig­ure-hug­ging, off-the-shoul­der black out­fit.

JACQUELINE ARZT/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Diana in June 1997 in Lon­don. In one of her last public en­gage­ments, she dressed in a short, pow­der blue fit­ted dress.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Diana ar­rives at a chil­dren’s char­ity fash­ion show in Lon­don in 1985 wear­ing a sil­ver dress de­signed by Bruce Old­field.

JACQUELINE ARZT / THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Diana with Prince Harry on the 50th an­niver­sary of V-E Day in Lon­don in May 1995.

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