Fashion Rules: Dresses of Diana, Princess of Wales

Today’s post will feature dresses from the 1980’s-90’s worn by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, in Kensington Palace’s Fashion Rules (previous exhibit) and Fashion Rules Restyled exhibitions.

Pink evening dress of silk chiffon and satin with beaded trimming by Zandra Rhodes worn for the state banquet in Kyoto during a royal visit to Japan in 1986. The colour and design reflect the cherry blossom in bloom at the time of the visit.

One of my favourite of Diana’s dresses was this pink silk chiffon and satin evening dress with beaded trimming by Sandra Rhodes. It was worn for the state banquet in Kyoto during a royal visit to Japan in 1986. The colour and design reflect the cherry blossoms in bloom at the time of the visit. This popular dress has been on display since the last exhibition, Fashion Rules.

Diana dress - Black velvet

This simple black silk velvet evening dress by Bruce Oldfield features a plunging neckline and back, with a decorative velvet rose at the nape of the neck. It was worn for an official portrait (taken by Lord Snowdon) and to the opening of the ‘Les Miserables’ musical at the Palace Theatre in London in 1985.  This dress is from the current exhibition, Fashion Rules Restyled.

Diana dress - start gown

Another one of my favourites, the ‘star gown’ by Murray Arbeid. The midnight blue mermaid evening dress is made of silk tulle and decorated with diamante stars. It was worn at Claridges Hotel in London for a dinner given for the President of Greece in 1986. It was worn again for The Phantom of the Opera musical in London in 1987. This dress was displayed in Fashion Rules and is now back in the collector’s/designer’s hands. For more photos of this dress, visit this link.

(The rest of the dresses in this post are from the current exhibition, Fashion Rules Restyled.)


Diana dress - Tartan

This tartan dress reminds me of Christmas with the reds and greens! The Catherine Walker evening dress with silk velvet top and silk taffeta skirt was worn in Balmoral and again to the National Gallery in Scotland in 1990. I love the historically-inspired neckline and the Basque waistline!

Diana dress - white lace

The first dress that guests will see when they enter the Fashion Rules Restyled exhibition is what I call the ‘Swan Lake / Odette’ dress. This Bruce Oldfield silk satin and lace evening dress was worn twice; first to a reception at the Courtauld Gallery in London, and later to a state banquet held at Buckingham Palace in 1990.

Diana dress - nautical

This nautically-inspired Catherine Walker pared-black silk evening dress with gold braid was worn to a private event in 1990. So private, in fact, apparently Diana was never photographed in it? I can definitely see this being worn today.

Diana dress - sequins

This Catherine Walker ivory silk crepe evening dress with pink and white sequins was worn at a banquet given by President Collar at the Itamaraty Palace during a state visit to Brazil in 1991.

Diana dress - off the shoulder pink

The Catherine Walker salmon pink off-the-shoulder silk evening dress with the prettiest beaded embroidery must have been quite heavy! First worn to the Savoy Theatre for a gala charity evening for the English National Ballet – of which she was a patron – in 1993, and again to a performance of Puccini’s opera, ‘La Boheme’, at the London Coliseum (also referred to as the ENO or English National Opera) several months later.

Diana dress - bright green

Another timeless dress and one of my favourites is the emerald green silk crepe evening dress by Catherine Walker. It was worn at a return banquet during the state visit for Malaysia at the Dorchester Hotel (in 1992?), an 80th birthday party for Sir George Solti at Buckingham Palace in 1993, and for Diana’s last state banquet that year. This dress was paired with emerald green shoes and jewellery!

Diana dress - green velvet

This green halter velvet dress by Catherine Walker was worn for the Vanity Fair photoshoot with Mario Testino in 1997. Not my favourite design but you know I love the fabric (after all, I have a vintage green velvet dress!).

For more of Diana’s dresses, Everything Royal has a page dedicated to her dresses.

Which of these is/were your favourite?

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