Princesses Diana and Kate among royal fashion icons of their reigning decade

Published by adviser, Author: Katie Ellis, Date: April 25, 2013

Once a generation a woman becomes a princess and lives a fairy tale life full of happily ever afters.  Lady Diana Spencer became a princess 32 years ago when she married her prince at just 20 years old, and Kate Middleton transformed from a commoner into a real life Cinderella just two years ago.  Each of these women embody all of the qualities that a modern day princess should have, including confidence, grace, and style.

Princess Diana is one of the most fashionable women the world has ever seen.  Fascination with Diana started the moment she stepped out in a bright blue suit and dazzling sapphire and diamond ring in February of 1981, on the arm of Prince Charles, upon the announcement of their engagement.

Five months later, the couple was married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in a ceremony known as “the wedding of the century” that was watched by millions across the globe.  On July 29, she arrived at the cathedral in a gown she co-designed with Elizabeth and David Emanuel that was unlike any other gown worn by a royal bride in history.  It was constructed from silk taffeta and antique lace and embellished with sequins and pearls, but the most prominent feature of her gown was the 25 foot train that trailed behind her as she walked up the steps of the cathedral.

Ever the quintessential rule breaker, Diana chose to style herself for both her public appearances and for outings in her private life.  She wore a number of designs from Catherine Walker and Victor Edelstein that epitomized the style of the 80s and 90s in ways that only Princess Diana could.

In 1985, she attended the White House gala held by President Reagan where she danced the night away with John Travolta in a deep blue gown by Victor Edelstein.  The trumpet style gown featured off-the-shoulder straps and a deep-V neckline that perfectly offset its ruched bodice and circle skirt.

The most eye-catching dress ever worn by the Princess was the “revenge dress” that she wore to the Vanity Fair party in 1994.  This dress featured the same neckline as her gala dress, but it’s most notable feature was its leg baring hemline that showed how confident she was in herself.  It was accessorized with sheer black tights, black heels, and a gorgeous sapphire and diamond choker that mimicked her famous engagement ring.

Kate Middleton became a princess before a new generation on April 29, 2011 when she married Princess Diana’s son, Prince William, at Westminster Abbey.  Middleton, who wears the ring of the Prince’s late-mother, also had a hand in co-designing the gown for her special day, but with Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

Her V-neck gown with lace sleeves was made of hand stitched lace, silk, and tulle, and was fastened with nearly 60 buttons down the back.  This gown was just the first in a series of headline-making ensembles that have made her a fashion icon.

Middleton has been called the princess of recycling, because she has been known to reuse items of clothing from one engagement to the next.  Some of her favorite pieces that she has worn time and time again are her LK Bennett pumps and her fascinators.

Her wardrobe is comprised of pieces that are much more accessible to the public than that of other royal brides of years past because much like Princess Diana, she styles herself, and mixes designer and retail pieces to create head turning looks.  She has never been one to make a fashion misstep whether she’s on her way to the grocery store or a royal celebration, and as she embarks on her journey into motherhood, there’s no doubt that all eyes will be on her to see what she wears next.

Both of these women have become icons because of the impacts that they have made on the fashion world.  Gone but never forgotten, Diana, The People’s Princess, exuded beauty in every aspect of her life.  Today, her daughter-in-law Kate Middleton is following in her footsteps and is taking fashion and the world by storm.


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