Fashion Muse

The Crown: Diana's re-emergence as a style icon

Nouse Fashion take a look at the iconic style of Princess Diana in the recent season of The Crown, and give tips on how you can incorporate this into your own wardrobe.

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Image Credit: Netflix, 2020

The Emmy award-winning series The Crown is back. The Netflix original drama presents a fictional retelling of the life of Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family. The new season focuses on the tumultuous marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and as a result has sparked an immense resurgence of interest in Diana, Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana, though royalty, resonated with the public, so much so she acquired the epithet ‘the people’s princess’. She touched the hearts of the nation through her humanitarian endeavors, loving demeanor and beauty, leaving a wave of admiration behind her with every public appearance. Both the people and the media were enamoured by her, with Diana’s face gracing the covers of every major newspaper, magazine and tabloid throughout the 80s and 90s. By consequence, her personal life, social calendar, and particularly her wardrobe were at the forefront of the nation’s mind. Eleri Lynn, the curator of “Diana: Her Fashion Story”, told Vanity Fair in 2017 that Diana is in “the same sort of space as Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy...a fashion icon whose style is so emulated and so loved”.

Though, Diana is a somewhat unexpected fashion figure. Her choices aren’t always well put together or particularly aesthetically pleasing but what she knew to do so well, and what was to soon make her famous, was her ability to dress emotionally, to show herself through her clothes, making the world fall head over heels for this heartwarming woman. Her style though not all together fluid or fashion forward signified something different, an ability to show oneself through fashion. This then started a cultural shift in which every girl on Kensington High Street and around the world began to look like clones of the princess, replicating her Sloane Ranger style - and she still permeates the fashion scene today. Virgil Abloh has labelled her his muse for his Off-White label and Hailey Baldwin channeled some of her sportswear looks for Vogue Paris. What season four of The Crown serves to do is to pull our attention to her younger years when her style was not so refined and was instead a reflection of her youthful and endearing spirit which the world would eventually come to love. It is her essence that costume designer Amy Roberts was attempting to capture instead of creating exact replicas of the princess’s outfits and it is this that Diana so fabulously executed, her essence through her clothes. A kindred spirit in floral print and easter yellow overalls.

Her fashion sense shifted as she went through her very public divorce, an era most notably defined by her revenge dress. What The Crown most strongly demonstrated was just how young she truly was, as season four follows her from the age of around 19 to her late 20s. She was forced to ‘find herself’ and her personal style in a very public space but what she does so well is mix her youthfulness with her more powerful and emotionally stimulated outfits.

PRINTS

Prints played a huge part in her earlier style choices, predominantly floral, Liberty and Laura Ashley inspired, often claustrophobic and very your grandma’s-wallpaper-esqe. To modernize these prints, I would try looking for slightly larger versions, which will appear more expensive. Prints can be intimidating but what Diana does so well is pair them with a block color that matches a color in the print, like how we see her the second time she meets Charles at the Polo, the yellow overalls slightly subdue the floral print of her shirt or when she is rollerblading around the Palace the pink cardigan matches her gingham trousers. What Roberts does amazingly is mixing patterns and color to present this allusive collision of youth with the rigid structure of the royal family.

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Image: Netflix The Crown

COLOUR

Another thing Diana clearly knew how to do was colour. Colour blocking, colour clashing but also knowing “her” colours, the ones that suited her best, and served to accentuate her features and emotions. Royal blue seemed to recur throughout the series; she loved it perhaps for the way it matched her eyes and the suit she wore for her engagement announcement also signified this young woman as elegant and sophisticated. She also loves yellow and red as seen in the beautiful dress she wore to the Royal Opera House. What this shows is it is best to find what colours work for you and don’t wash you out but serve you in the best way. Once you have found your colours you can then start working in prints and patterns in a way that they will not overpower you.

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Image: Netflix The Crown

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Image: Netflix The Crown

When talking about ‘knowing how to dress for yourself’ Diana was not afraid to show off her best features. Although she had to remain relatively conservative while involved with the royal family she still knew how to accentuate her feminine figure. She is constantly using belts or items that cinch in her waist.  The example I love the most is when she attended the charity ball in Sydney in the ruffled baby blue gown by Bruce Oldfield, she uses a chunky silver belt to accentuate her waist, and she looks stunning, a true Disney princess. Along with a cinched waist she also tends to show off her arms and sculpted shoulders, again know what works for your body, experiment with different items and then look to incorporate more of them into your wardrobe.

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Image: Netflix The Crown

COLLARS

Big collars, bold shoulders and ruffled shirts are a huge part of Diana’s wardrobe in and outside of The Crown. Thankfully for us they are coming back into style for AW20 as well. The biggest signifier of this is her wedding dress. Although seen only briefly in the Netflix show, the exaggerated balloon sleeves, ruffles and collar signify it as both a fashion statement and a true indicator of her style. For an everyday look, she often pairs her ruffled shirts with sweaters and cardigans, which is a more preppy look. If you want to replicate this style a great place to start is with detachable collars, the ones that come not attached to a shirt, and experiment with pairing it with different shirts you may already have or cardigans or jumpers.

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Image: Netflix The Crown

SETS

Sets seemed to overtake her wardrobe in her early marriage years, particularly on the Australia tour. Matching sets are a perfect example of how to dress for events where you want to come across sophisticated and put together but still signifying your personal style. Sets can be printed or plain, but if going for something more plain I would recommend looking for something more structured. One of my favorite outfits was the one she wore in the finale at Sandringham when taking the Christmas photo. The black velvet dress with the collar and the buttons is beautiful and definitely something I will be pulling inspiration from when looking for my Christmas outfit. Though, sadly, it is also a great example of how her clothes show her emotions. Here, her outfit as well as her melancholy expression demonstrates what the somber and suffocating situation she was in.

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Image: Netflix The Crown

Finally, Rowing Blazers has curated an edit of Diana inspired pieces which, although very expensive, demonstrates how Diana, as a fashion icon in her own right, is still influencing how we dress today. So, whether you are a true royal fanatic or an anti-monarchist, you should go watch season four of The Crown not for the action but for the beautiful outfits.

10 STAPLE PIECES TO RECREATE DIANA'S EVERYDAY STYLE:

  1. **A checked blazer **

Available at ASOS (£20.95) or Zara (£59.99)

  1. **White oversized shirt **
    Available at COLLUSION (£18)
  2. **Oversized printed sweatshirt **
    Available at ASOS (£18.50)
  3. **Blue straight leg jeans **
    Available at ASOS (£24.50) or Topshop (£30)
  4. **Gingham cigarette trousers **
    Available at ASOS (£16.80)
  5. Beige trousers
    Available at Karen Millen (£39) or for a more casual look & Other Stories (£45.50)
  6. **Cycling shorts **
    Available at Monki (Black, £8) or AYBL (Ice Blue, £14.50)
  7. **Small chunky gold hoops **
    Available at ASOS (£14.40), Etsy (£24.30) or for a more high-end option Missoma (£59.25)
  8. **Navy canvas trainer **
    Available at Superga (£44)
  9. **Black quilted handbag **
    Available at ASOS (£13.20) or Monki (£30)

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