How Diana became the fashion queen of Britain

“In the two decades since her death, Diana, Princess of Wales, has ascended to the pantheon of the best-dressed women in history” Eleri Lynn, curator of the exhibition Diana: Her Fashion Story at Kensington Palace told Vanity Fair. “She is stepping into that same sort of space as an Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy, a fashion icon whose style is so emulated and so loved, really” she added.

From the feather-haired “Sloane Ranger” fiancé of Prince Charles in pie-crust blouses and pastel ruffles whom the press nicknamed “Shy Di” to the sleek and regal woman whose confident stride in embellished gowns and body-con velvet made her one of the most-photographed women in the world the exhibition follows the princess’s style evolution reports VF on Diana’s “very glamorous regal style”.

This year marks 20 years since her untimely death, and in tribute to her life a major new exhibition is on show at Kensington Palace.

Diana: Her Fashion Story charts the development of the Princess’s fashion style from those first demure, romantic outfits, to the chic ‘working’ suits worn throughout her public life, to the glamorous evening dresses seen on numerous star–studded occasions, including the inky blue velvet gown worn at the White House in 1985 for that famous dance with John Travolta. The Princess’s relationship with her favorite designers are also highlighted in a display of original sketches created for her during the design process.

Follow the evolution of a Princess at first strongly directed by royal advisors, who slowly but surely nurtured her own distinctive style and navigated a unique position in the public eye, learning to use her image to engage and inspire people, and to champion the causes she cared about.

To complement the fashion exhibition in this anniversary year, the sunken garden at Kensington Palace has been re–named The White Garden in memory of the Princess and planted with white roses, scented narcissi and a carpet of forget–me–nots for visitors to enjoy as part of the palace admission.

The highly anticipated Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibition features 25 dresses from designers including David & Elizabeth Emanuel, Caroline Charles, David Sassoon, Versace and Regamus (the earliest piece on show from 1979).

“She had really sort of transcended fashion and achieved an incredible chic and elegance” said Lynn, such that “all you saw was her, and the clothes became secondary to her own presence and her work.”

Enter her legacy here.

All images via The Industry