Anyone under the age of 30 would undoubtedly cite Kate Moss as the UK’s biggest-ever style icon but the real owner of that mantle is undoubtedly the late Princess Diana.
Anyone under the age of 30 would undoubtedly cite Kate Moss as the UK’s biggest-ever style icon but the real owner of that mantle is undoubtedly the late Princess Diana. Lady Di is to Moss what The Beatles are to Oasis in fashion terms.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Diana championed new trends, upped the glam factor and turned designers into celebrities, and her love of clothes got UK shoppers out of their fail-safe black, navy and beige acrylic standard issue into colour, prints, tailoring, foxy cocktail dresses and even exotic silhouettes from faraway shores. But more importantly she inspired ‘ordinary’ women over 25 to spend regularly and experimentally in boutiques.
Her impact on sales at indies was like nothing before or since.
Last week Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, showed signs she has the potential to fit into Diana’s glass-slipper fashion icon status with her beautiful Alexander McQueen bridal gown which put UK design firmly onto the world stage. She also took time to get papped shopping in the King’s Road and then wearing a Zara dress, which became an instant sell-out.
She has come in for much criticism from the fashion press who poo-poo her classic fail-safe taste and bouncy brunette hairdo. But the average British woman would kill to look like her and therefore will aspire to shop like her - mixing commercial pieces bought on the high street with those from upper-end boutiques.
Designers should therefore watch closely as she treads her first fashion steps as an official royal.
Jessica Brown, executive editor