Rare Sketches of Princess Diana's Iconic Wardrobe Go on Display at Kensington Palace

Photo credit: Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon
Photo credit: Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon

From Town & Country

Fashion sketches by one of Princess Diana’s favorite designers have gone on display at Kensington Palace in an intimate exhibition honoring the late princess and her style.

The eight intricate sketches by David Sassoon include designs for the going away outfit that the princess wore after her 1981 wedding, a maternity dress she wore while pregnant with Prince William in 1982, and an evening gown for a 1991 premiere.

There is also a Catherine Walker gown that was worn by Diana to a state dinner in Bangkok in February 1988. It is a subtle tribute to Thai Chakkraphat, traditional dress of Thailand; the pink and purple fabric reflects colors of the lotus blossom.

Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Anwar Hussein - Getty Images

The sketches are displayed along corridor Princess’s Court Arcade in the west London palace. A case containing the Catherine Walker evening gown has also been displayed in Stone Hall.

The show is a successor to the exhibit "Diana: Her Fashion Story," which closed February 17 after two years and more than one million visitors.

"The princess lived at the palace for sixteen years and regularly met designers there, poring over sketches and collaborating on the creation of bespoke garments," said Matthew Storey, curator at Historic Royal Palaces. "We are delighted to be able to show a small element of that creative process at the palace today, with this collection of sketches and of course-the finished product-a striking evening gown.”

Photo credit: Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon
Photo credit: Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon

The sketches, which also show Diana’s annotations, will be changed every six months to show a variety of designs created for the late princess.

The eight displayed initially are Diana’s going away suit from 1981; a chiffon maternity dress from 1982; a red velvet maternity dress from 1982; a dress for a tour of Australia in 1983; an outfit for a tour of Norway in 1984; a suit from 1986; an evening dress from 1990; and an evening dress worn in 1991.

Photo credit: Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon
Photo credit: Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces/Belville Sassoon

Kensington Palace is open to the public with exhibitions managed by charity Historic Royal Palaces. The private areas of the palace are home to royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children as well as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex until they leave for Frogmore Cottage in March.

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