Jul1 1 would have marked Princess Diana’s 59th Birthday. As the world so tragically knows, Princess Di lost her life in a car accident at 36, leaving her two boys, Prince William and Prince Harry, behind. Her impact though, has been far reaching in more ways than one. She refuted many royal traditions, thus paving a (slightly) more modern path for the monarchy (such in the way Meghan Markle does today), dedicated much of her life to humanitarian work and of course, left a strong sartorial impression that still reverberates through the industry.
From her revenge dress to the inception of collegiate-inspired athleisure, her voluminous wedding gown to her pick of the crown jewels, here we look at 18 of Diana’s most iconic fashion and beauty moments through history.
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Who could forget this iconic photos of Princess Diana running around town in a baggy “Fly Atlantic” pullover sweater, peach bike shorts, and chunky runners? Taffeta and ball gowns aside, Diana’s preference for athleisure is still paying fashion dividends today. Modern reincarnates like Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid are often seen in similar ensembles, whereas lifestyle brands (like the now-questionable Sporty&Rich) reference her bike-short-preppy-logo-sweater aesthetic season after season.
Ah, the original revenge dress. On the same day Prince Charles publicly confessed his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles in a television interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, the Princess attended the Serpentine Gallery’s summer party wearing a custom black velvet off-shoulder dress by Greek designer Christina Stambolian. At the time it was considered the ultimate sartorial middle finger to her cheating ex-husband. And rightly so – she looks fantastic.
Gifted to Diana as a wedding present in 1981, the ‘Lover’s Knot’ tiara is encrusted with diamonds and teardrop pearls. It was designed by Queen Elizabeth’s grandmother in 1914 and was reportedly Diana’s favourite.
In striking blue Versace (one of her favourite designers) while on tour in Australia.
Princess of Wales by day, nap queen by night. This iconic photo of Diana at the Victoria’ and Albert Museum Exhibition Gala in pale blue Bellville Sassoon chiffon is one of her best (because all those royal engagements no doubt got exhausting).
Lady Diana famously worked closely with makeup artist Mary Greenwell (who actually trained Charlotte Tilbury). It was reportedly Greenwell who convinced Diana to steer clear of the heavy blue eyeliner she was so fond of in the 80s.
Princess Diana wed Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The dress, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel for Alexander McQueen, was covered in 10,000 pearls and featured a 25-foot train – the longest in royal history. Referred to as called “the wedding of the century,” the glamorous affair was attended by 3,500 guests and watched on television by 750 million people.