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In praise of the fashion Queen

In a world where today’s fashion trend instantly becomes tomorrow’s second choice, one wardrobe has not only survived every change but also lived on as a reference for designers and wearers alike.

A mother, a humanitarian and a fashion icon; it might be hard to decide where Diana, Princess of Wales has set the best example. But if any conclusion is to be drawn from the endless queues we have seen outside Kensington Palace recently, then a unique fashion sense remains one leitmotif of her legacy.

Diana: Her Fashion Story is not simply a fashion exhibition that seeks to trace the mystique of a great woman. It is a monument to a life cut short.

From the Bill Pashley brown tweed suit she wore on her honeymoon in 1981 to the Catherine Walker green silk velvet dress she chose for a Vanity Fair photoshoot shortly before her death in 1997, up to 25 of Diana’s most glamorous dresses and gowns will draw thousands of visitors to her former residence over the coming months. An array of colours and cuts will be closely observed by artists and designers searching for inspiration.

But the stories behind each couture- including those not on display- is what should be really celebrated.

We might be forgiven to forget, for example, the many dresses, jackets, hats and shawls that the princess anonymously donated during her lifetime. The cold nights she spent on the street handing out £50 notes to prostitutes so they could stop working and go home to look after their children.

Although not strange to her, these instances were never officially confirmed, and that is exactly what she wanted. She kept everyone guessing. We know that her acts of kindness were too many to count.

Diana would have loved to be part of this exhibition. She would have blushed at the unveiling of her statue. But what would have certainly made her day is the White Garden that will be planted with tulips and roses in tribute to her.

Twenty years after leaving this world, the Queen of Hearts -and fashion- is still remembered for the exceptional person she was. This is likely to be the case. Always.

As she once said, ‘’Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.’’

Today, this could not be more relevant.

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