A twee little sweater. A collar the size of a Cadillac. A prairie dress of wildly unflattering proportions. Such are the trends that just won’t quit, and guess which long-deceased royal is still responsible? Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, and if the spontaneous memorial and throngs of visitors at the gates of Kensington Palace are any indication, she remains as popular as ever.
Even more so, perhaps, thanks to her ballooning presence on social media. On TikTok in particular, #princessdianastyle is all the rage, with blogger types re-creating her Sloane-y looks (black swimsuit, white shorts, wide belt) and generating thousands of likes. (To the credit of the Gen Z influencer set, the “revenge dress,” which Diana made A Thing back at a Serpentine Gallery dinner in 1994, does feel a bit played out.)
The fascination with Diana’s looks endures because each of those painstakingly chosen outfits was intended to communicate something to the public, one of the few ways she could do so on her own terms, without a crushing approvals process. To revisit those clothes is to reconsider her story, and it never fails to fascinate. So be it: We’ll always have the memories. And the polka dots, bomber jackets, and biker shorts, for better or—depending on how they’re worn now—for worse.
Ashley Baker is a Deputy Editor for Air Mail