Diana: The People’s Princess

Apart from her glamourous royal wardrobe she had a way about her that was truly captivating. An aura of love and light that resonated with the world.

Whilst I can’t say I’ve had any vested interests in the late Princess of Wales, that has all changed this week in light of the 20th anniversary of her tragic passing. In memory of this historic event there have been numerous documentaries about her life that have aired on TV that have aroused my interest in her. Simply put I fell in awe of her story, which granted, is subject to individual interpretation, but I believe it is one of a young woman whose light shined too bright for the world around her. This on its own is a feminist trigger, but that’s a story for another day. My mother also speaks fondly of how Diana was one of her fashion icons as a young woman so I guess that indirectly makes her my fashion icon by virtue of the fact that I get my style from my mother.

In not to reduce her life to something as rudimentary as her wardrobe, it is an undeniable fact that the Princess is one of the biggest fashion icons of our century and the most documented one in her short lifetime. Apart from her glamourous royal wardrobe she had a way about her that was truly captivating. An aura of love and light that resonated with the world. Now of course looking good is certainly one thing but there’s something about confidence and pride in one’s appearance that precedes you and genuineness that can take a simple outfit and make it look phenomenal.

What all fashion icons seem to have in common is their ability to consistently evolve while remaining true to themselves even in the face of fashion that is always rapidly changing. They always choose fits that suit them rather than what is ‘hot’ at present all while remaining relevant especially in a world driven by fickle trends subject to change at any moment. They are truly able to communicate without saying a single word. For Diana, being one of the most photographed woman in the world she has definitely left a legacy that will transcend generations. Adding to this Diana went the unconventional route with her personal style neglecting the sometimes rigid tendencies of royal attire. Princess Diana was always dressed in a deliberately informal way that made her accessible and approachable to the masses so as to effortlessly interact with the people.

She used her clothes to display the public image of truly being one with the people as opposed to being a superior other. Diana also used her clothes as a communication tool seeing as though in the tradition of the austere royal palace she didn’t have much of a voice, so her wardrobe gave her the voice she so desperately yearned for. This in my opinion is the epitome of style and grace. Most importantly, she had fun with her outfits, she took risks and was quite experimental for someone of her status, for example, being the first woman of the royal family to be photographed wearing pants and blazers along with her iconic short hair which are all characteristics that breach princess etiquette.

The dress below has to be one of my favourite outfits donned by the princess not because of the aesthetics but because of the story behind the now known as ‘revenge dress.’ Diana famously wore this dress on the same day her then husband, Prince Charles, went public about his infidelity in an effort to legitimise his pending divorce from her that was going to jeopardise his appointment as King in the future. The following day, everyone was talking about the ravishing Princess as opposed to the PR bomb dropped by the Prince. Granted this was a humiliating day for Diana as would be the case for any woman in her position but she managed to neutralise the public humiliation by communicating continuing confidence and grace even with her marriage coming to a dramatic end. She was relentless in rising above the negativity. This has been the case for woman even in present times. Often we don’t have a voice in society and have to communicate through the way we present ourselves to people. We sometimes use the way we look as a form of rebellion against limiting societal norms that perpetuate and promote patriarchy, heteronormativity and gender roles.

Princess Diana’s style is still loved and emulated today and I believe it will maintain relevance for years to come. Additionally she lived a life of true individuality which will remain a valuable example to internalise for all girls and woman alike.

Icons never die.


Images: Getty Images, Shutterstock and Vanity Fair Magazine (Shot by Mario Testino)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: