When it came to dressing for the moment, no one did it better than the late Princess Diana. Her outfits always had a story to tell, giving rise to fashionable pieces like “the revenge dress.”
Princess Diana was many things. A mother, a sister, a teacher, a motivator, a fashion icon, and the people’s princess. Among her numerous attributes, her reputation as a fashion symbol was perhaps the most glaring, going by various shots of her in daring outfits from the noughties still making headlines to date.
Over the years, fashion experts have studied some of the late princess’s most iconic fashion moments, in hopes of dissecting the inspiration behind her choice ensembles.
Remarkably, there seems to be some kind of pattern, with each outfit resonating with her mood or an intended message. From her black sheep sweater to her infamous revenge dress, Princess Diana always had a way of passing a subtle message with her dressing while looking fashionable.
Here are five of the most glaring outfits the princess famously donned to make a statement.
1. THE BLUE VICTOR EDELSTEIN DRESS
Unsurprisingly, Princess Diana’s midnight blue Victor Edelstein dress comes first on this list. The late Princess of Wales donned the outfit during a state visit to the US in the eighties.
The usually shy young princess famously danced with John Travolta while wearing the blue velvet dress, captivating everyone with her charms. Following that appearance, the princess embraced her confident side, noticeable in her change of fashion style.
In fact, to date, the dress remains widely regarded as the princess’s departure from her usual safe style, to more adventurous ones. What better way to communicate the transformation!
2. THE BLACK SHEEP SWEATER
Throughout the 80s, Diana wore her black-sheep sweater on various occasions. Many believe the sweater as a subtle way of communicating to the world that the royals deemed her an outsider and the black sheep of the family.
If donning the red sweater detailed with multiple white sheep and a stray black sheep was not enough to communicate her feelings, she went a notch further to do so.
In the book, “HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style,” the author, Elizabeth Holmes noted that the princess usually paired the sweater with an inner gown sporting a black ribbon. Notably, that black ribbon, suspended down her chest, pointed directly to the black sheep to draw attention to it. Sleazy!
3. THE INFAMOUS REVENGE DRESS
The most memorable statement outfit the princess donned in her lifetime was the iconic off-shoulder black dress with a plunging neckline. She paired the form-fitting dress by Christina Stambolian with a black pantyhose, a pair of back high-heels, a black clutch purse, and silver accessories.
Princess Diana wore the gown during her visit to the Serpentine Gallery for an official event. Interestingly, the event took place on the night Prince Charles admitted to having an extra-marital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles in a documentary.
Due to the circumstances, the dress was quickly dubbed the “revenge dress.” Diana auctioned the infamous revenge dress for $65,000 three years later.
4. THE NAVY BLUE DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT
Princess Diana set the fashion trend for the next generation of royal brides in 1994, when she donned a double-breasted power suit to an evening function. Thus she made history, becoming the first woman in the British royal family to attend an official evening function in pants!
Princess Diana’s daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle has followed the same trend, channeling Diana’s 1994 bold clothing choice for her first official evening engagement.
5. DIANA’S CASUAL SHIRT ON JEANS
Towards the late nineties, Princess Diana opted for more casual looks in line with her decision to focus on humanitarian works. Eleri Lynn of “Diana: Her Fashion Story” pointed out that Princess Diana resolved to become known as the work-horse rather than the cloth-horse following her divorce from Charles. Hence, the transformation in style.
The Princess made that clear to the world during her visit to Botswana in 1997 to create awareness for landmine victims. In her effort to attract attention to her humanitarian works rather than her outfit, the legend donned a white button-up shirt over faded blue jeans. She paired the outfit with a pair of brown loafers.
The result– a casual, yet stylish look even the most renowned fashionistas can’t get enough of several generations later. It is safe to say that the late Princess Diana of Wales was indeed a fashion goddess.
HOW DID PRINCESS DIANA DIE?
Princess Diana became a member of the British royal family following her and Prince Charles’ wedding in 1981. Sadly, that union ended in divorce after yielding two children.
Barely one year after the separation of the royal couple, the people’s princess met her end at the age of thirty-six. Princess Diana died from injuries suffered in a car accident on August 30, 1997.
The accident took place inside a road tunnel in Pont de Alma, Paris, during a romantic getaway with her rumored boyfriend, Emad Dodi Al-Fayed. The two, along with their driver, Henri Paul, and a bodyguard were traveling in a Mercedes Benz, en route to Fayed’s Parisian estate at speeds above 70mph in an attempt to evade the tailing paparazzi.
Paul and Fayed died at the scene, while Princess Diana suffered severe chest injuries. She later died at the hospital after two hours in surgery.
To date, several conspiracy theories about Princess Diana’s death abound, with most pointing to the fact that the princess’s death was no accident.