A major exhibition on Princess Diana, called Diana: Her Fashion Story, has just opened at Kensington Palace.
The exhibition will run throughout 2017. August 2017 is, of course, the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death.
At SoSensational.co.uk, the site for fashionable mature women, we are also interested in Diana as a Fashion Icon. We also see her as a fashion role-model for her generation (i.e. our generation). At SoSensational we believe that, having set the style agenda so effectively throughout the 1980s and early 90s, she would have continued to be a role-model, helping to set the fashion agenda for women over 50 if she had not died at the tragically young age of 36.
Perhaps, if it’s not too macabre, we could also steal a little of what we imagine might have been her style at age 56.
Most of her favourite designers have retired or gone to the Great Atelier In The Sky. Two are still very much around: Lorcan Mullaney and Bruce Oldfield
From the 1980s Lorcan Mullaney worked alongside David Sassoon at Bellville-Sassoon, the leading UK couture house that designed some 70 outfits for Diana. Lorcan Mullaney is still creating beautiful occasion dresses, for Jacques Vert.
We imagine that Princess Diana would have still been a regular customer at Bruce Oldfield’s Beauchamp Place boutique. For those of us who don’t have her budget there is his Bruce by Bruce Oldfield collection for John Lewis, allowing us to own a bit of the Oldfield magic at a fraction of the price.
Hats were also a big feature of Princess Diana’s wardrobe. Hats are important in the Royal dress code so millinery played a major part in her life and she certainly set some hat trends. We suspect she would have happily bade farewell to hats, only wearing them for weddings, funerals and Christenings.
Among her favourite milliners were Frederick Fox, Philip Somerville and Graham Smith. Graham Smith retired in 2003, and according to his former PR, Marilyn de Keyser, Smith has a cherished collection of hand-written thank-you notes from the Princess.
The Princess also loved her swimwear. Rigby & Peller’s June Kenton who holds the Royal Warrant for Corsetry, used to fit her for swimsuits and bikinis also remembers a sweet, courteous woman with “a very long body”..
Like the Queen, the Princess had to dress formally for official engagements and as the exhibition clearly shows, Diana loved a posh frock (and when wearing one would certainly have enjoyed the dropped jaws provoked by her fabulous body, extreme beauty and dazzling jewels). But in her off-duty moments she seemed to prefer to be less formal.
The Everyday Pieces
We suspect that like a lot of mature women, she would spend a lot of time wearing jeans. We also imagine that an uber-fabulous jacket would complete the look.
The Evening Wear
In her royal role, the Princess championed UK designers, but post-divorce she chose more clothes from international collections. We imagine that is a trend which would have continued. We guess she would have picked glamorous, ready-to-wear and couture frocks from international designers alongside a few British designers, notably Amanda Wakeley who offers drop-dead fabulous eveningwear.
The Princess loved her arm candy –Dior, of course, named a best-selling handbag after her in 1994 (it was subsequently renamed the Lady Dior). We think, at 56 she would have tucked an Alexander McQueen jewelled clutch under her arm for high-octane evening engagements, while for more low-key, perhaps private after-six engagements, a slightly more classic bag would hang on a shoulder on a gold chain. For daywear, the choices in totes, shoppers and over-sized statement bags would be dazzling…
The High Street Buys
We don’t imagine she would shop much on the High Street, but we wonder if daughter-in-law Kate might have pointed the Princess in the direction of one of her favourites, Reiss, as well as highlighting the virtues of other brands where she might find clever pieces to mix with her designer wardrobe.
Now we think about it, we believe Princess Diana would have been a leading GLOW, SoSensational’s name for the over 50 demographic.
And as a GLOW, she may have also looked at SoSensational to help her to find those fabulous high-fashion but perfectly age-appropriate pieces. Well, we’d like to think so…What do you think?
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