Friday, 30 June 2017

Diana's Dresses: the Elvis

Before Elvis, there was nothing. That one phrase sums up his impact on the world of modern music and if one dress can sum up the impact of Diana, Princess of Wales on fashion and style, it's the Elvis. You don't need to see a photo of the dress to know just what it looks like. The high collar, the beading, the sparkle, the glamour. Think of Diana's dresses and chances are, you'll think of this one. Here's the Elvis.

There really couldn't be an exhibition of Diana's Dresses without this one. Designed by Catherine Walker and first seen in 1989, this is truly evocative of the princess. The neckline was apparently inspired by Elizabethan ruffs but it is 100% modern in its look. When it was worn on an official visit to Hong Kong, it caused a sensation.

The fitted dress and matching bolero jacket are completely covered in beads, scattered over the fabric and clustered at the edges. It sparkles and shimmers every which way you look. Paired with the famous Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, it is the epitome of royal glamour, eighties style. It was Diana who dubbed it the Elvis and it became a symbol of the decade and of her glitz. The photos of her in that dress and tiara became some of the most famous ever taken of her and they were used endlessly in the tributes that flooded in following her death in Paris on August 31st 1997. Now, twenty years on, it is fitting that this dress, sold for over $150,000 at auction, is one of the stars of the show celebrating her life in style. The princess was a true icon of chic, as seen in Diana: Her Fashion Story now on at Kensington Palace.

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