The Peoples Princess
ICONIC. Groundbreaking. Poignant. These are just some of the words that can describe Diana, Princess of Wales. From her difficult marriage to her tireless work to promote all kinds of worthy causes, she was bombarded by countless media storms. However, it was not just her personal life and philanthropic efforts that grabbed headlines. During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Princess Diana dominated the fashion world, and shaped the styles that we have come to associate with these decades.
Diana’s choice of clothes was not always impressive. In fact, when Diana began her relationship with Prince Charles, the royal family was so keen for her to avoid any wardrobe malfunctions that they hired tutors from Vogue to give her ‘fashion lessons’.
Ultimately, Diana took some of their advice, but as time moved on she began to choose her own styles. She looked to the burgeoning New Romantic trend, and made it her own, wearing high collared ruffled blouses, floral skirts and ball gowns with puffed sleeves. She almost single-handedly brought about the return of occasion hats, which were previously considered dated. It seemed that ‘Shy Di’ was making a name for herself in the fashion world, wearing clothes by designers of her choice such as Versace and Chanel.
One of Diana’s key fashion moments was her wedding in 1981. Drawing on New Romanticism once again, she chose a puffball meringue wedding dress, with huge puffed sleeves and a 25-foot train. The extravagant dress divided the critics, especially when it prevented the young princess-to-be from getting out of her carriage. However, the fact that it inspired several other flamboyant wedding gowns that year proved what a trendsetter she was.
In the mid to late 1980’s, Diana had moved on from fanciful New Romantic styles and had adopted a completely new look. With big hair, glitzy designer dresses and, of course, statement shoulder pads, she influenced the power-dressing craze that would characterize that era.
By the 1990’s, Diana was a luminary in the world of fashion. The press persistently chased her for her latest choice of outfit. Both brand labels and high street shops imitated her look. In the later stages of her life, she opted for simple, fitted suits that emphasized her figure, becoming less reliant on padded clothes.
When we think of people who changed fashion, Diana does not stand out as the obvious choice. However, while her choice of clothes might not be considered daring or innovative today, she had a deep and lasting impact on how a generation of women dressed. Diana is a style icon because of her seemingly endless versatility. She knew what suited her, but she wasn’t afraid to experiment with what she wore. All the while, she remained elegant and sophisticated, just as a ‘people’s princess’ should.
Posted by Emily Maree, Fashion Editor on at 5:00 pm.
Got an opinion on this article? Leave it below.