A stunning Grace Kelly-inspired gown worn by Princess Diana to the Cannes Film Festival is set to go on display in an exhibition of the late royal’s most memorable outfits.
The 1987 blue silk chiffon piece, by Catherine Walker, is one of a number of outfits that the former Princess of Wales is said to have modelled on film stars.
According to creators of Diana: Her Fashion Story, which opens at Kensington Palace next week, the princess used to disguise herself in a scarf and sunglasses to visit her local cinema.
Other pieces on display include the green velvet evening dress she wore for a Vanity Fair photo shoot with Mario Testino (1997), the pink satin gown she wore to stand out against the men’s ceremonial uniforms in an official portrait (1987) and the youthful pale blue nylon dress she wore as a debutante for an Althorp House ball (1979).
The exhibition also features the red-skirted Murray Arbeid dress that she famously teamed with one black and one red glove for a visit to Spain (1987) and the shimmering, white sequinned gown she wore for her 1991 trip to Brazil where she made a point of removing her glove to shake hands with an Aids patient.
While her experimental style often received mixed media reviews, Diana was revered as a fashion innovator before her death in 1997.
Her first official portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981 was published in Vogue magazine, where she was described as an “upcoming beauty”.
The accolade soon prompted the Emanuel blouse she wore in the picture to sell out on the high street.
She also featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and continued to work closely with international designers such as Gianni Versace following her separation from the Prince of Wales.
The exhibition’s opening on Friday will run alongside the launch of the palace’s White Garden for spring/summer 2017.
Curator Eleri Lynn said: “Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of the most photographed women in the world, and every fashion choice she made was closely scrutinised.
“Our exhibition explores the story of a young woman who had to quickly learn the rules of royal and diplomatic dressing, who in the process put the spotlight on the British fashion industry and designers.
“We see her growing in confidence throughout her life, increasingly taking control of how she was represented, and intelligently communicating through her clothes.”