Oh god we do love a royal story having been immersed in The Crown for weeks. The new exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, at Kensington Palace, is tiny but quite brilliant in its micro approach to such an iconic woman. The exhibition is a line up of looks that are etched in our minds, having reported on her wardrobe through the 80s and 90s. We had Buckingham Palace on speed dial. Tragic. And so there are some Victor Edelstein dresses; Emanuel’s, Bruce Oldfield and of course many Catherine Walker looks who was the chicest style advisor Diana could have had. Although she helped shape some of the excesses of decade, and launched a thousand pussy-bow blouses (Gucci now) Walker and Diana eventually developed her own posh Princess style post Shy Di. She lived through the hilarious Sloane Ranger era of course but she was rarely ever seen in wellies and head scarves because she just wasn’t into horses. She left that to the rest of them. She was clever, she used her wardrobe like armour, she gave us what we wanted impeccable skirt suits; a splashy dress, a geographically and culturally appropriate dress for the tours. Diplomatic dressing. Post divorce she worked her gym fit body into Gottex and Gianni Versace and form fitting Walker, those great halter neck velvet gowns. She stepped it all up. God she was good.
The exhibition is well considered, a story with every outfit. In hindsight all super poignant and a big ‘what might have been’ for the people’s princess. Kanye had her up on his mood board for his recent Yeezy Season 5 collection and that brown honeymoon check suit by Bill Pashley is on display. So what might have been… well by now she would be wearing some beautiful cashmere jumpers by Celine for the Mario Testino sittings. She aimed high. Her suits would have given way to maybe something softer perhaps although she would have had a laugh that the power shoulders are back at Balenciaga. She would have just done vintage. Yes, it’s tinged with sadness.