Around this time last year, at London Fashion Week, the fashion press went into a frenzy when news that the Queen was seating front row next to Anna Wintour at the Richard Quinn show made its round. One year on, another British royal seems to have made her presence felt from the moment the Spring/Summer 2020 fashion week circuit kicked off in New York last week. Her name: Princess Diana.
Last we checked, the late Princess of Wales is the most influential royal when it comes to shaping fashion trends and purchasing patterns. That is according to a research released in May by online retailer Lyst which studied a century of royal fashion effect. It highlighted the “ripple effect” that Diana’s wardrobe choices – which included the infamous off-shoulder mini dress by Christina Stambolian she wore in 1994 after her split from Prince Charles that was dubbed by the British press as the revenge dress and fuelled the appetite for bodycon dresses.
“While we’re seeing phenomenal spikes in demand for all things Meghan-endorsed right now, Diana’s lasting legacy as a trendsetter and continual source of inspiration for generations of designers and fashion lovers makes The Diana Effect an incredibly powerful fashion force,” remarked Lyst editor Charlotte Austin in a statement.
Which explains why for her S/S ’20 show, Tory Burch, the archduchess of waspy American fashion, centred her 39-look collection around the wardrobe of the young Diana Spencer circa the ’80s. Burch’s interpretation of that style and era took a restrained approach to some of the most memorable OOTDs that Diana was photographed in – from the rustic floral prints, the boxy tailoring and the huge appetite for volume. She told The Hollywood Reporter: “Like Diana, I wanted to tread carefully with the ‘80s, because that’s not where I go naturally from a design standpoint.”
Elsewhere, the influence of the Princess of Wales – she’d be 58 today if she is still alive – was also felt in the collections we’ve seen so far. One can say that the explosion of ruffles and volumes of ivory taffeta at the show of upcoming Brooklyn designer Christopher John Rogers (main image) was predated by the humongous wedding gown by David and Elizabeth Emanuel at Diana’s nuptials to Prince Charles in 1981. Ditto the glamorous polka dot confections at Carolina Herrera and Marc Jacobs which echoed the countless times Diana stepped out in flamboyant dotted prints. With the Milan and Paris shows beckoning, our Diana effect count is bound to go up. But in the meantime, we’ve marked down the times we’ve witnessed that influence appearing.
#1: The Ball Gowns
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#2: The Polka Dots
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#3: The Ladylike Suit
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#4:The Casual Blazer
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