Princess Diana’s Best Gowns

With a 25-foot train and 10,000 pearls, co-designer David Emanuel didn't downplay Diana's most famous fashion moment: Her wedding. "I wanted the dress to reflect that but she was going in as Lady Diana Spencer and coming out as the Princess of Wales," he said last year. "If you did a subtle little number, it's not going to work!"
 1981

On her royal tour to Australia and New Zealand, Diana accessorized her pink Victor Edelstein dress with the Spencer family tiara. Unlike other members of the royal family, she rarely wore gloves so she could connect more freely with the people she met. 
 1983

The Emanual design team created this sheer garment for a meeting with New Zealand's prime minister. 
 1983

London-based designer Catherine Walker created over 1,000 looks for Diana over the years, including this color-blocked gown for a night at the ballet.  
1984

The royal definitely embraced the broad-shouldered fashions of the day, including this backless lamé dress by Bruce Oldfield. The favored silhouette soon earned her the nickname "Dynasty Di." 

 1985

In addition to Walker, Bruce Oldfield also frequently dressed Diana through the '80s. She wore this ruched number to the National Gallery in Melbourne. 
 1985

The Princess of Wales won over Americans on her first official visit to the U.S. This asymmetric beaded gown came from the Japanese designer Hachi. 
1985

The Cannes red carpet never recovered from this all-star moment. Diana literally glowed in chiffon creation by Catherine Walker, reportedly inspired by Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. 
1987

Walker seemingly took cues from Disney princesses for this fairytale look. The rosy ballgown — worn first at the Berlin Opera House — also appeared in an official portrait by Terence Donovan.
1987

While headlines dubbed it her "Elvis dress," Walker reportedly drew inspiration from Elizabethan ruffs. Her interpretation included a white silk crepe dress and bolero jacket, both embroidered with sequins and pearls.
1989

Walker also created this elaborate pink ensemble, which Diana wore while meeting the Crown Prince of Kuwait. 
1989

Diana debuted this  Victor Edelstein design at  the premiere of Dangerous Liaisons, but it more famously appeared on the cover of Life magazine after her death.
1989

The Princess especially adored this Victor Edelstein number. She rewore the dress a whopping eight times over the years. 
1990

No sleeves, no problem. The Princess of Wales chose this blue Catherine Walker dress for a presidential banquet in Cameroon. 
1990

The fashion-forward Diana converted another piece of jewelry into a choker. A wedding gift from the Queen Mother, a large sapphire and diamond brooch became the clasp of a seven-strand pearl necklace. Diana frequently paired the piece (even after her divorce) with strapless dresses, like this Catherine Walker sheath. 
1990

Diana stepped out in her so-called "mermaid dress" not once but twice: First on a 1986 Austrian state visit and again to the 1990 Diamond Ball. The Catherine Walker gown has since sold for over $130,000 at auction. 
1990

Does that top look familiar? It's the same bodice from the royal's Kuwait visit, now paired with a slim skirt for a banquet in South Korea. 
1992

Reminiscent of Diana's Cannes look, this pale blue chiffon dress also comes courtesy of Catherine Walker. The Princess of Wales wore this one for a gala benefiting the London City Ballet. 
1992

The infamous "revenge dress" almost never happened, according to its designer. Christina Stambolian created the figure-hugging gown three years before, but the Princess felt too nervous to wear it. She changed her mind the day Prince Charles admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. "She wanted to look a million dollars," said her former stylist Anna Harvey. "And she did."
1994

After her divorce, Diana embraced new styles and designers that raised her profile as a fashion icon. At a Parisian dinner held in her honor, she chose a red cocktail dress by Christian Lacroix. 
1995

Another short style, this Catherine Walker halter neck dress featured glass beads embroidered in a scroll pattern. Diana wore the beaded shift to a gallery opening.

1995

At a Pavarotti concert benefiting the Red Cross, Diana nodded to the organization's primary color in a two-tone Catherine Walker dress. 

1995

Throughout her life, Diana worked with Walker on developing her "royal uniform," determined not to let her clothes wear her. This simple tank dress did the trick at a London movie premiere.  
1995

The color's reminiscent of the ruffled Bruce Oldfield creation from almost a decade before, but the sleek Versace silhouette couldn't look more different. Di wowed in the design at a benefit for cardiac research in Sydney. 
1996

The Princess of Wales received her pearl-studded salwar kameez as a gift from expat friend Jemima Khan, InStyle reports. Di loved the outfit so much, she requested more Pakistani-inspired designs from Catherine Walker.
1996

On her only trip to Chicago, Diana stopped by Northwestern University before stepping out in the school's colors at a gala the next day. She accessorized the Versace gown with Jimmy Choo shoes — a relatively unknown brand at the time.
1996

The Princess literally sparkled at a performance of "Swan Lake" in London. Jacques Azagury designed the glittering shift, and Garrard created her pearl and diamond necklace. The jeweler also made matching earrings, but didn't finish the set in time. 
1997

 

 

 

 

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