Princess Diana holds a special place in the hearts of people around the world, and her iconic style continues to captivate audiences to this day. Innately tied to her memory is Princess Diana‘s fashion sense, which changed as she grew into her role as as a beloved public figure. In honour of her birthday, we look back at 50 of her chicest outfits. Although 20 years have passed since Diana’s tragic death, her signature sartorial flair remains a classic.
Celebrate the late royal’s life by revisiting her most iconic style moments, below.
Still lacking a royal clothing allowance, the teenaged teacher’s assistant topped her romantic pink evening gown with a plain wool coat for Princess Margaret’s 50th birthday bash.
She collaborated on her wedding gown with little-known design team David and Elizabeth Emanuel. “In the end, the design process was quite simple because it was just the three of us,” the duo wrote in A Dress for Diana. They had the future princess slip sample dresses on over her jeans: “She was terribly excited to be trying on huge bouffant petticoats, satin skirts, and boned bodices.” The final garment was made of British-woven silk and featured a dramatic 25-foot train.
When Shy Di met with the press on her Scottish honeymoon, her finery was limited to her Welsh gold wedding ring inscribed with a message from the prince: “I Love You, Diana.”
The expectant princess made headlines in a single-shoulder, drop-waist Bruce Oldfield gown in vivid, blue silk. “The English rose syndrome was never my bag,” the designer once told a biographer. “I liked to see her in much simpler things.”
The princess was nicknamed “Dynasty Di” by the tabloids because of her wide-shouldered gowns like this silver Bruce Oldfield. “She was very involved,” Oldfield has said of his client’s wardrobe, but, “you’d have to be fast because she didn’t have much patience.”
Diana wore this wine, velvet Catherine Walker dress to a London premiere. Although it looked conservative from the front, the gown had an open back that the princess accentuated with a long pearl necklace worn backwards.
Victor Edelstein based this navy, velvet column gown on Edwardian evening designs. The princess famously wore it for a spin on the White House dance floor with John Travolta.
Proving that she needed little more than her statuesque frame to make an impression, Diana strolled the grounds at the Guards Polo Club in jeans and a sweatshirt, topped by a crisp blazer.
The princess coupled her beaded ball gown from Catherine Walker with the Spencer tiara. She was known to have dresses altered for future wearings; a version of this gown with a narrow skirt would later sell at auction for $51,750.
The high collar on this Catherine Walker pearl-encrusted bolero was inspired by Elizabethan ruffs. The less historically minded press christened the ensemble “the Elvis dress.”
Princess Diana looked radiant at a London Kire Te Kanawa concert in a raspberry-hued Victor Edelstein gown.
The princess visited the British School of Seoul in South Korea wearing a fitted green suit with matching pumps.
As a royal, Diana was required to wear British designers to boost the local economy. Post-separation, Diana often donned international couture like this crimson Christian Lacroix dress, worn in Paris.
It was the LBD worth a thousand words: In 1994, just as a documentary regarding her husband’s infidelities was airing, a lithe and leggy Princess Diana strolled into a Serpentine Gallery benefit wearing a figure-hugging ruched mini dress from Greek designer Christina Stambolian. The next day, every front page was devoted not to the Prince of Wales’s televised confession but to images of the glowing, confident 32-year-old Diana. Ever mindful of the power of fashion, three years later she auctioned off 79 of her favorite gowns at a Christie’s auction that raised $6 million for AIDS and breast cancer charities. Click on for more of the late royal’s most unforgettable looks.
What happened to Shy Di? The princess began to favor sheath dresses that showed off her slim shape, like this white Versace number she wore to a charity concert in Italy.
Diana wore an ivory, pearl-studded shalwar kameez to a cancer fundraiser in London. The pantsuit, which was a gift from friend Jemima Khan, inspired her to commission similar Pakistani-inspired outfits from Catherine Walker.
Diana visited patients at an Angola hospital wearing a sleeveless chambray shirt and trim chinos.
Diana met with Mother Theresa in New York in a simple white suit and cap-toed pumps.
Her figure-hugging Catherine Walker dress and Jimmy Choo shoes accented her long legs.