Princess Diana was one of the world’s most photographed women, and although her style evolution will forever be immortalized through a few standout wardrobe classics — the midnight blue velvet dress she wore while dancing with John Travolta or the Bill Pashley tweed suit during her honeymoon in Balmoral — it was what the People’s Princess didn’t wear that truly captivated the world’s attention.
“She often didn’t wear gloves or hats, and was the first female royal to wear trousers to an evening event,” said exhibit curator Eleri Lynn during a walk-through of “Diana: Her Fashion Story” which showcases the most iconic looks Diana wore during public outings as well as the reasoning behind them.
Diana’s fashion choices, Lynn noted, were ultimately impacted by her desire to appear approachable and warm.
“She abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact,” Lynn told People in an interview, adding that the mom of two opted for chunky jewelry so children could play with it.
“She also stopped wearing hats because she said, ‘You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.'”
“She learned the unwritten rules of royal dressing, but liked to break them sometimes,” Lynn added during the walkthrough.
That’s not to say she was completely against gloves — she just wore them in a more eccentric fashion.
“What particularly springs to mind is that she once wore a flamenco style Murray Arbeid dress with one black evening glove, and one red one,” Lynn said.
She also liked wearing tuxedo style outfits and she wore a lot of black — a trendy colour, but one traditionally worn by members of the Royal Family for mourning.
Also on display at the show are a series of sketches from some of Diana’s designers, including David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Roland Klein and David Sassoon. You will also find the blue tartan Emanuel suit she wore in the ’80s and the pink Emanuel top the princess wore for a portrait photoshoot in 1981.
Oh, and we can’t forget the Victor Edelstein sweeping blue velvet “Travolta” gown.
“What you see in the exhibition is a real evolution of the princess’s style,” Lynn, told People. “You see that new romanticism of the early ’80s and all the frills and ruffles that were fashionable at the time, but you see through the course of the display the princess really getting a sense of her own style… to this fantastically glamorous, self-confident stylish woman.”