THE 20TH CENTURY STYLE ICON

  • 30 Jun - 06 Jul, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • TRIBUTE

They call her the most photographed woman in the world. Once she looked down the lens and smiled, you knew you had a winner. “I can honestly say I have never photographed anybody quite like Diana, Princess of Wales. I couldn't take a bad photograph of her. Nobody could – it was simply impossible,” says Ian Jones, the royal family’s veteran photographer. Photographs of British most favourite royal continues to evoke wistful memories for many. Lady Diana and the legacy she left behind edges way beyond her fashion sense, but arguably, she remains to be the greatest fashion icon of the 20th century.
Here is looking back at her best fashion moments and the stories they tell.

A fairytale wedding dress

Envisioning a fairytale wedding out of storybooks, Lady Diana donned a full silk taffeta gown designed by Elizabeth Emanuel, with a full bow and lace trimmings on her wedding to Prince Charles. Reminding one of the extravagance of the 80’s, the dramatic train of the gown was 25 feet long, the ivory tulle embedded with 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins and had romantic billowing sleeves. Even after two decades, no one's ever come close to replicating the stunning bridal dress.

Despite the team practicing folding the excess fabric, the bulk of taffeta eventually got crushed in the glass coach she took to St. Paul's Cathedral. The cramped ride caused the visible wrinkles upon her arrival.

Eventful visits to Pakistan

Diana’s strong friendship with Jemima Khan, the then wife to the young cricketer Imran Khan, brought her several times to Pakistan. In fact, the princess participated most actively in the fund raising campaign for Khan’s cancer hospital. It’s heartwarming to see photographs of a shalwar kameez clad Diana, on her visits. The traditional attires looked impeccable on her; as if she was made to wear them since ever.

A 19-year-old’s engagement pick

There is quite a story behind Diana’s engagement outfit that she wore to the announcement at Buckingham Palace. The pussy-bow blouse and cobalt blue skirt, was power dressing at its best, but was actually bought by a 19-year-old Diana from a London department store, Harrold’s at last minute. When Diana visited high-end Bellville Sassoon which was favoured by the royals, she had a “Pretty Woman” moment. The French sales assistant didn’t recognise Diana, who had been dating Prince Charles for over six months, and suggested she visited a more budget-appropriate department store. Fortunately, once David Sassoon himself had discovered the mishap, Diana was warmly welcomed back into the boutique and their relationship flourished from there; the designer was one of the defining names behind the Diana style we all know and love.

The Travolta dress

In 1985, during a visit to the White House Diana shared the ballroom dance floor with John Travolta, star of Grease and Saturday Night Fever. The pair made a glamorous spectacle for onlookers, as they waltzed around the checkered floor for nearly 30 minutes. The dance would become one of the most iconic moments of her life – and the black velvet dress she wore for the occasion instantly assumed its place in her hall-of-fame looks. It’s famously known as ‘the Travolta dress’.

The Revenge Dress

Her husband admits that he cheated on her with long-time lover Camilla Parker Bowles, in a television interview. Most women in her position would be in hysterics, not Diana; again proving she was miles from being ordinary. The same evening, after Prince Charles’ confession of adultery, Diana walk into the Serpentine Gallery clad in a majestic low-cut, off-shoulder little black dress that accentuated her figure and clung to her body in the most beautiful way. The princess paired it with a choker and pearl earrings. The British press called it ‘the revenge dress’.

An evening in Melbourne

During her many tours of Australia and New Zealand, Diana sported some outstanding looks, further proving that no one can outshine her in the style element. On one of the evenings, the princess wore a teal ball gown with an asymmetrical, off-shoulder. The emerald-and-diamond necklace, a gift from the Queen was the sight to behold, which Diana chose to wear as a headband. Pretty sure, the queen would have preferred the necklace to be worn more conventionally; another one of the times the Princess of Wale broke the royal protocol.

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