Arriving in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, during the Royal Tour of the Gulf in March 1989, wearing a dress by Catherine Walker.
Consider the mood-lifting powers of pink, then turbocharge. Blush, cerise, cotton candy, rose, fuchsia – whatever your predilection, Diana, Princess of Wales wore it, and she wore it mighty well.
In an era where celebrity stylists are the invisible architects of flawless public appearances, Diana’s lifelong love of pink was far less engineered.
It was her favourite colour – a partiality that, from the point that she ascended into public life, emitted an unassuming warmth.
At the tender age of 22 on the April 1983 tour of Australia (a page in history that underwent The Crown treatment), the princess’s mostly all-pink wardrobe was a palliative sweetener.
Diana’s initiation to royal married life was tough, but she didn’t abandon her rose-tinted wardrobe refrain.
Her sartorial choices in those early days read as an indicator of the humanity that would later define her legacy.
There was an unapologetically feminine power to the acres of marshmallow taffeta that drew admiration from across the world and signalled a changing of the guard.
The soundtrack to the times? Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” was parked at the top of the Billboard charts – its electrifying video showing Jackson outfitted in a blush-pink shirt against a bubblegum sky.
At varying times, Diana’s favourite colour coded moments of joy, steadfastness and growing self-assurance; at others, it beamed motherly love. In 1986, she was pictured sitting on the steps of Highgrove House, a toddler Harry protected between her gingham-clad knees, her eyeline fixed warily on the photographer.
In later official appearances, exacting day-to-evening tailoring replaced flowing cerise gowns.
There were knife-sharp suits and body-skimming shift dresses crafted by Catherine Walker and Versace (by then, the late former British Vogue deputy editor Anna Harvey had leaned in as style adviser) – but the adoration of pink remained.
Remember the Gianni Versace double-breasted, cap-sleeve skirt suit? That happened in the spring of 1995 – a ‘Roselette’ peony-hued look, which to this day remains nothing short of sublime.
More than 25 years on, the flowers that lend the most irresistible shades of pink their mythologised names offer a poignant insight.
Diana’s blossoming was all too fleeting. “I had a fitting with her last week for new suits and clothing for spring, and she is so serene,” Versace said of his friend in the July 1997 issue of Vanity Fair, which featured the princess on its cover.
Within just a few months of publication, both would tragically pass away. “It is a moment in her life, I think when she’s found herself – the way she wants to live.”
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