Princess Diana’s iconic style legacy lives on through Princess Kate todayJuly 1, 2023
July 1, 2023 marks what would have been Princess Diana’s 62nd birthday. The former Princess of Wales died just two months after she turned 36 when she stepped out in one of her most memorable looks.
Diana looked radiant in a show-stopping black gown by Jacques Azagury as she attended a gala dinner at the Tate Gallery in London on July 1, 1997.
The flattering style featured a statement square neckline, ankle-grazing hemline and figure-hugging bodycon fabric layered with a beaded sequin fabric.
While the glamorous look was one to remember, it’s not the only outfit that remains embedded in the late Princess’ fashion legacy.
To this day, Diana’s wedding gown, famed “revenge dress” and sporty sweatshirt ensemble are synonymous with her life.
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Diana once admitted that when she married King Charles – formerly Prince Charles – at the young age of just 20, her wardrobe comprised “one long dress, one silk shirt, one smart pair of shoes, and that was it”.
Shortly after getting engaged to Charles at 19 years old, just six months into their relationship, the young Princess famously dashed to buy “six of everything” to prepare for her royal role. But despite her grounded approach to personal style, Diana successfully established a world-renowned fashion legacy in her short life.
Her engagement pictures were arguably where it began when the young Diana stepped out in a cobalt blue and white skirt and jacket.
The Sapphire ring she wore is styled today by Kate, Princess of Wales in her late mother-in-law’s memory.
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Of course, the late Princess’ fairytale wedding dress, designed by the Emanuels, was another significant style moment that occurred early in her life.
From then onwards, she cultivated a wardrobe that honoured protocol while simultaneously making a bold statement, through her choice of colours, bold prints, and fashion-forward tailoring.
Diana’s evening gowns became a trademark of her generation in the eighties and nineties, with bold shoulder pads, popped collars and high-shine fabrics all staple details.
The Princess was loyal to designers who led the British fashion industry at the time, including Bellville Sassoon, Victor Edelstein, Donald Campbell, and Catherine Walker – the latter of which is now a staple in Princess Kate’s wardrobe.
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Throughout the nineties, during the middle of which Diana and Charles announced their separation, the mother-of-two strayed from royal protocol.
She set the precedent for the young royal women of today by donning designer labels including Dior, Chanel, Jimmy Choo and Versace. Suits, pearl chokers and daring hemlines were worn by the Princess which set the bar for nineties fashion as its known today.
During this era, Diana traded loud eighties-style gowns for figure-hugging cocktail dresses – including the famed “revenge” style designed by Christina Stambolian.
The then 32-year-old wore the black number on June 29, 1994, to the Serpentine Gallery – the same night that Prince Charles admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles (now Queen Camilla) on national television.
Regarded by some as the height of her style evolution, Diana then stepped into a more low-key fashion era which included her understated but oversized sweatshirt ensemble.
Having evolved from wearing Hunter wellies, chunky knitwear and dainty sweater vests in her late teens, Diana’s final style chapter during her thirties looked quite different.
The former Princess of Wales’ “off duty” style was her go-to for day-time engagements, but her chic evening wear continued to stun crowds.
In just 17 short years, the royal stole the show on countless occasions with her unique fashion choices – many of which are still followed today.
And her legacy lives on through other royal women, namely Princess Kate who often channels her late mother-in-law through her wardrobe.
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