We celebrate the difference
Lady Diana, forever a style icon
6 min read — Dec 04, 2020
The release of season 4 of "The Crown", Netflix's most-watched series, is marked by the entry on the scene of an iconic character: Lady D.
Exciting and moving, this season is a total success. In the two decades since her death, “Shy D”, as the media nicknamed her, has ascended to the pantheon of revolutionary women in history. We can no longer count the number of documentaries and other articles on Lady Diana, yet somehow we have the feeling that she still lives among us. A nostalgia felt with an interpretation that is more than realistic of Emma Corrin who plays her role on the screen, going so far as to imitate her facial expressions and gestures.
The natural Diana, her woman-child side, her non-conformism, and her ability to communicate with her clothing, made her the most photographed woman in the world, her style was not only reflected in her clothes, it was also reflected in her rebellion side, her casual attitude, her humanitarian commitments.
A Strong character, and despite her very young age, Diana did not want to abide by the rules of the crown. She was not afraid of controversy and always had her say, imposing respect from the royal family who usually blame her for her casual temper. She was the kind of woman that did not hesitate to inaugurate a medical center dedicated to AIDS patients and the first member of the royal family to shake hands with an AIDS patient. A way for her to destigmatize the disease and make people aware that "AIDS patients need to be embraced, just like everyone else."This avant-garde style was reflected in the attitude of Diana; we cannot ignore the anecdote during her union with Prince Charles when she ignored an ancient tradition according to the rite of the Anglican Church of England where the bride had to swear obedience to her husband. An example since followed by Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle who have not promised to obey their companions either. And this desire for change took on another dimension when Diana became a mother.
At the time, Royal children had to follow homeschool courses. Yet, Diana sent Princes Harry and William to kindergarten when they were old enough to enter. She had not hesitated to participate in a run between parents of kids to amuse her children. Or to take her sons with her on official trips. Fact quoted by the way in “The Crown "where she insisted to take Prince William; then 5 months old, on an Australia tour. Revolting at the time since Prince Charles and his sister Anne; 3 and 5 years old respectively, were left with nannies for 6 months in order to go on a diplomatic trip by their parents Elizabeth and Philip.
The Fashion Icon
Diana Spencer came into the spotlight in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Barely 18 years old, she attracted the attention of Queen Elizabeth II, who sought to marry her eldest son, Prince Charles. She now sees herself being chased through the streets of London by swarms of paparazzi. Dressily speaking, the one who works as a nanny then has a very classic style.
Despite her young age, she sports a midi tailored skirt, V-neck sweater, printed cardigans, short Peter Pan collars, and pleated skirts. Some still remember that see-through skirt photographed against the light.
At her wedding, Diana wore an ivory silk taffeta dress, hand-embroidered, with over 10,000 sequins and tiny mother-of-pearl beads. “She would initially wear this dress, which was for a long time the obsession of the media, as Lady Diana Spencer, but would become in this dress, the Princess of Wales”, said David Emmanuel, the designer.
At the end of her honeymoon, the Princess of Wales has a meeting that will change her notion of style. Her name is Catherine Walker, she is a French designer living in London since 1977. Walker will help Lady Diana identify the pieces and cuts that flatter her, but also give a contemporary take on royalty as Princess Margaret or Princess Anne did before her. On the counter, more than 1,000 outfits worn by Lady Diana are signed by Catherine Walker. Kate Middleton will follow in her stepmother's footsteps by often calling on the designer for official events.
The 90s are therefore the period when Diana Spencer accentuated the wearing of more casual pieces. The first member of the royal family to wear denim in public does not hesitate to sport a more practical style, especially on her many humanitarian trips or visits to British hospitals.
During his public appearances, her outfits are more liberated. The dresses have been shortened, they follow the curves of the body more easily, even exacerbating them, in particular through the wearing of dresses with a square neckline embellished with a choker of pearls and diamonds, her signature accessory. Among the outfits that have marked the spirits, there is this midnight blue velvet dress revealing her shoulders signed by Victor Edelstein that she wore during a dinner at the White House in 1985. It is in this creation, accessorized by a sumptuous necklace of sapphire and pearls arranged in seven rows, which Diana had danced with actor John Travolta. The “Travolta dress”, as it was nicknamed, was auctioned for 240,000 euros in 2013.
Queen of communication, it is through the clothes that the princess of Wales spoke. After her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana wore a fitted black off-the-shoulder dress with an asymmetrical hemline and chiffon train that flowed in the wind. A huge statement without saying a word.
And then there is the series of photos orchestrated shortly before her death, during her stay on Dodi Al-Fayed's boat, where she is immortalized in a swimsuit. A snub to the royal family. Diana often wanted to “convey approachability and warmth,” which impacted her fashion choices and her decision to stop wearing hats and gloves.
She abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people. She also stopped wearing hats because; “You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.”Designers inspired her. In particular, she began to wear foreign designers such as Valentino, Dior, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, and Versace; who became one of her best friends.
For her part, Lady Di never ceases to inspire today’s designers, such as Virgil Abloh, whose Off-White show in September 2017 featured numerous references to the princess of Wales. Even today, Kate Middleton, Princess of Cambridge, regularly pays tribute to her husband's late mother through neat, classic, and elegant looks. We still remember her red dress with Peter Pan collar when leaving the maternity ward.
Lady D was and will remain a fashion icon in her own right. Crowds are still fascinated by Diana Spencer, over 20 years after her death... Forever a princess...