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‘Royal uniforms’

Image copyright Historic Royal Palaces
Image caption Diana wore this chiffon blouse in 1981 for her first official portrait in Vogue magazine

An exhibition tracing the changing styles of Diana, Princess of Wales is due to open in Kensington Palace.

Diana: Her Fashion Story will display iconic outfits from throughout her life – from before she was married to after her divorce in the 1990s.

Curator Eleri Lynn said the exhibition showed how the princess was “growing in confidence throughout her life”.

A “White Garden” celebrating Diana’s life will also be planted in the palace grounds this summer.

Image copyright Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces

Princess Diana commissioned this tartan coat and skirt from designer Emanuel for an official royal visit to Italy in 1985.

The boxy style may have been fashionable in the 1980s but many commentators thought little of the coat.

Image copyright Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces

This silk chiffon evening gown was worn by Diana at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, and for a performance of Miss Saigon at the Theatre Royal, London in 1989.

It was created by Catherine Walker who took inspiration for the dress from the gown worn by Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1955 film, To Catch A Thief.

Image copyright AP/Historic Royal Palaces

Princess Diana hit the headlines when she danced with actor John Travolta at a state dinner in the White House in 1985.

The velvet silk evening dress which she wore that night was designed by Victor Edelstein and was said to be one of her favourites.

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This cocktail dress, which Diana wore for a concert at the Barbican in 1989, was considered an unusual choice for a princess given it was based on a masculine tuxedo.

Designer David Sassoon said it was an example of how Diana started to “break the rules” as she experimented with styles and learned what clothes worked for different occasions.

Image copyright Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces

This sequined evening dress created by Catherine Walker in 1986 was said to be typical of Diana’s “Dynasty” phase when the media noted her taste for “large shoulder pads, lavish fabrics and metallic accessories”.

The princess wore it for an official visit to Austria in 1986 as well as two charity balls in 1989 and 1990.

Image copyright Getty Images/Historic Royal Palaces

Diana increasingly worked with Catherine Walker during her life to develop what the designer called her “royal uniform”.

She wore this red day suit created by Walker for her famous visit to the London Lighthouse, a centre for people affected by HIV and AIDS, in October 1996.

Diana: Her Fashion Story will open on 24 February

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