Virgil Abloh and his brand Off-White have already conquered the world of streetwear, but he’s not content with merely satisfying the hypebeasts and sneaker heads of the world. So over the summer when he sent out an invitation to his Paris Fashion Week show bearing an image of Princess Diana it signaled a certain kind of intent. Diana is still remembered as an icon of style and sophistication, but she was still the “People’s Princess” who often shook up the stuffiness of British aristocracy. For Abloh, it probably didn’t hurt that the show would come in the wake of so many television specials and documentaries that coincided with the 20th anniversary of the Diana’s death.
The resulting collection that he showed on Thursday in Paris, however, wasn’t Diana drag in the sense that it was not straight-up recreations of the Princess’s greatest style hits but a dialogue with her wardrobe. Some of the references were to her early Sloane Ranger style, while others were more oblique: the pattern of black splotches on white of a shirt Diana wore to a polo match in 1983 was repurposed for several garments. Others were more subtle and could be found in the styling like mismatched gloves, a shot out to the Princess’s America’s Cup Ball in 1986. He employed Naomi Campbell, British fashion royalty, to close the show in an outfit that called to mind both the public and private Diana.
Here, some of Abloh’s most noticeable Diana homages.
Here’s the aforementioned black splotch pattern that would be reworked throughout the collection.
Take away the mock turtleneck underneath and the dress is a clear homage to Princess Diana’s infamous “revenge dress” she wore in 1994 to a Vanity Fair party shortly after Prince Charles admitted to an affair. Though, Abloh added the extra sexiness of a slit, and saved the flourish of a side train for other garments in the collection.
Here’s your mismatched glove homage. It would also be repeated in a few other looks.
This very ’90s look recalls one Diana wore in 1994 to visit her brother’s newborn baby in the hospital. The original Escada tie she wore was later auctioned for $5,970.
Skirt suits, usually pastel and quite often pink, were a mainstay of the Princess’s formal wardrobe.
Though, light blue skirt suits were also a go to.
This pink dress recalls one Diana wore twice abroad: once in 1983 to Perth, Australia, and then again in 1985 in Rome, Italy.
Unfortunately we can’t find usable photos for the inspiration of this look as the outfits seem to have only been captured by British tabloids, but the Princess did once spend a ski vacation in Switzerland where she favored ski boots and Canadian tuxedos.
The final look seemed to tie it all together: the bike shorts the princess was never afraid to be photographed in, the formal suit tops she favored during official duty, and a bit of a homage to the asymmetrical flurry of the revenge dress.
In case you were wondering what Abloh’s mood board looked like:
And the invite:
Princess Diana’s 8 Most Iconic Looks: