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Diana: A Fashion Icon
By Mokhtar Alias

IF you canât be a princess, then at least buy a dress from one. This philosophy, it would seem, propelled the aution of Princess Diana dresses to the tune of over 2 million pound. Dresses, from the collection of Diana went under the hammer at Christieâs New York on June 25, 1997.

It was a historical occasions, to say the least. Each dress was custom-made specially for the Princess - except the plunging black Christina Stamboulian dress she wore the night Charles announced his infidelity to the world.

Diana disliked the idea of herself as a fashion icon: she thought it detracted from the seriousness of her world. But to understand just how grounbreaking she was, you have only to compare her style with of the Queen, the Queen Mother, or indeed Princess Anne, as reported by Succes magazine.

Instead of Hartnell and Hardy Amies, there were Versace and Victor Edelstein. Instead of stately A-line coats and flower print dresses, there were tiaras worn as hairbands, tuxedos for pop concerts, glamourous one-shoulder ballgowns and longline pastel jackets worn with glossy sheer tights and high heels.

Of cource, the Princessâs looks and slender 5ft 10in frame helped. But Diana gave an interpretation of fashion that was recognisably young, sexy and modern.

Diana was always very interesting in fashion, but knew better than to follow diktats. Bruce Oldfield, who designed many evening dresses for the Princess in the eighties said: üShe wasnât fashionable, that was the whole point.

On August 31, 1997, she died on the road accident in Paris. Her fiance, Dodi Al Fayed also died.

Diana was not born as royal, but she was brought up on the Sandringham estate. Her father, the then Viscount Althorp was an equerry to the Queen; childhood playmates included the young Princes Andrew and Edward.

Diana married Prince Charles. She was the first Princess of Wales for nearly 80 years and the Prince delighted in presenting his young bride to the public, as reported by the magazine.

The fairytale ended in 1996, with the divorce of Diana and Prince Charles. Cast out, alone and struggling to define a new role for herself, Diana nevertheless still believed in a monarchy - but one that went hand-in-hand with its people. They, in turn, responded to her spontaneous and genuine warmth.

Her official title was the Princes of Wales, but she wanted to be the Queen of Hearts. When she died so tragicallyl; people all over the world finally gave her the coronation she had so longed for.