Princess Diana's Royal Wardrobe

05/ago/2017 11.38.22 stylecaster Contatta l'autore

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A Closer Look at the Power Behind Princess Diana's Royal Wardrobe

This month marks 20 years since the death of Princess Diana, who fashion has come to consider an icon of 20th century glamour. Always aware of the power her wardrobe choices afforded her to communicate to her adoring public, Diana transformed from a shy teenager (whom the press nicknamed “Shy Di”) to an elegant stateswoman, clinching herself a spot among the best-dressed women in history, says Eleri Lynn, curator of “Diana: Her Fashion Story,” which opened at Kensington Palace in February.

“She is stepping into that same sort of space as an Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy,” said Lynn, “a fashion icon whose style is so emulated and so loved, really.” And while Diana, who loved buying clothes (according to the New York Times, her annual expenses in her most dedicated clothes-horse years had been estimated to be $1.2 million, including separate five- and six-figure bills for items like clothing) and listening to pop music on her Walkman, rarely spoke out on the public stage, her wardrobe spoke for her.

“It is very surprising how little footage there exists of the Princess actually speaking. We all have a sense of what we think she was like,” says Lynn. “And yet so much of it comes from still photographs, and a large part of that [idea] is communicated through the different clothes that she wore.”

Quick to master the rules of a public wardrobe, Diana “learned to bend them. She used fashion creatively, dressing with deliberate informality to convey approachability and break down barriers,” wrote the Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morley earlier this year. She was deeply aware of how clothing might shape her public image.

There were ensembles for the philanthropic visits that cemented her reputation as a world-class humanitarian and a woman of deep compassion. Her dedication lied with organizations addressing AIDS, leprosy, homelessness, cancer research and the treatment of sick children, along with the English National Ballet.

“Cheerful, colorful clothes, because she wanted to convey approachability and warmth,” Lynn said. “She didn’t wear gloves because she liked to hold people’s hands. She would sometimes wear chunky jewelry so that children could play with it, and she never wore hats to children’s hospitals after a while, because she said you couldn’t cuddle a child in a hat.”

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