Diana, Princess of Wales, shaped the sartorial tastes of a generation. Going from young unknown bride to arguably the most famous woman on the planet, Lady Di was quite the style setter, and her looks continue to inspire us today.
Her looks became the subject of countless news stories, and her preppy-chic look helped shape the hottest trends of the '80s and '90s. Long before social media, Princess Di was the original influencer. During her courtship with Prince Charles, she was pictured wearing a pair of Hunter wellies, which immediately led to a massive spike in sales. In the '80s, she kicked off the trend for pie-crust collars and pearls.
Her style might seem conservative to us now, but it back in the day, she used her wardrobe to flout royal convention. Diana famously decided to forgo gloves when greeting members of the public, and let's not forget the famous "revenge dress" she once wore. For her, fashion was a vehicle to connect with people and even make political statements.
To mark 21 years since Princess Diana's untimely death, we decided to explore the four key fashion trends that defined her aesthetic and miraculously still stand strong today. From her off-duty outfits that pre-figured athleisure to her kick-ass power suits (which feel so A/W 18), scroll down to see our favourite looks and fall in love all over again.
As every royal worth their salt knows, a good suit is essential for all those formal events. It seems as though Princess Diana definitely paved the way for Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's collections of tailored two-pieces. There's something so 2018 about Princess Di's approach to power suits—just look at her on-trend head-to-toe beige ensemble. Her penchant for skirt suits also needs a mention, as they've made a serious comeback for A/W 18. Zara's tweed number could have easily been plucked from the wardrobe of the woman herself.
Two words: cycling shorts. Princess Diana was so ahead of her time when it came to this divisive trend. She loved rocking leggings, sweaters and chunky trainers that wouldn't look out of place on the streets of fashion week this year. The term athleisure was yet to be coined, but Princess Di harnessed the power of the chic gym ensemble long before Kim Kardashian West became famous for it.
When she wasn't in a power suit or kicking back in sneakers, Diana was all about preppy separates. Whether it was collecting the kids from school or enjoying a family day out, "mom" jeans, boots and a blazer were the order of the day. Aside from the obvious return of '80s-style high-waisted jeans, A/W 18 sees a renewed love for Diana-inspired heritage pieces—think checked blazers and cream polo-necks. The royal also wasn't immune to the charms of Western boots, another trend that's set to surge this season.
From her fantasy wedding gown to her little black "revenge dress," Diana's frocks make up a large proportion of her most famous looks. Her iconic pie-crust collars are echoed in the designs of-the-moment dress brand Batsheva, while the ruffled monochromatic midi she wore on arrival in Thailand bears a striking resemblance to Topshop's It polka-dot dress. Now that's what we call timeless style.