This year marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. There has been a slew of documentaries in the UK (some good, some bad) and a refreshed homage to her legendary style. After all, the royal family’s first ever bonafide global celebrity was not just a beautiful young princess; she was, and remains to this day, the ultimate fashion icon.

Princess Diana was the quintessential Sloane Ranger. Used to describe a certain kind of boarding-school-educated British gal from the upper class or the upper middle-class (I’m not going to explain the British class system here; I don’t have 20 years to write this), the “Sloane Ranger” (a term born in 1975) is a portmanteau of Chelsea’s Sloane Square and Lone Ranger. The Sloane Ranger still exists today, in watered-down form, but her apex was the ’80s: the decade in which Princess Diana became a national and global obsession.

She favored two-tone court shoes, polkadots and pearls, stonewash jeans, baggy sweaters, pink suits in every conceivable cut and hue, tweedy jackets, puff-sleeved tartan and jaunty berets, big gold clip-on earrings, white stilettos and ruched evening dresses. She wore white jeans with white t-shirts and loafers (hi Leandra!) and pink with purple was her colorway of choice. Her favorite labels were Catherine Walker, Bellville Sassoon, Bruce Oldfield and Victor Edelstein.

But what would Princess Diana wear today? According to Kate Finnigan for The Telegraph’s Stella magazine, “Stealth chic would be her thing.” She’d favor “white J Brand jeans, cashmere round-necks” and houses such as Ralph Lauren, Ralph & Russo, Tom Ford, Valentino and Chanel.

I, on the other hand, prefer to re-imagine her aesthetic as something bolder, and cooler, in outfits that might make the same impact that she did back in the ’80s. So I took her iconic looks and updated them for 2017. It helps, of course, that so much of what Diana wore is back: the polkadots, the pearls, the tartan and tweed and frilly shirts and faded Levi’s and white stilettos and clip-on gold earrings and white-worn-with-white-and-loafers and PINK SUITS. So many pink suits. You know I love a pink suit.

I was conscious while writing this piece that I didn’t want to be exploitative or piss-takey. I wanted my looks to be playful but firmly within the boundary of “homage.” For that reason, I chose not to shoot one of my favorite outfits, worn by Diana while out on a jog: cropped cycle shorts, thick eighties athletic socks, white sneaks and an oversize gray Harvard sweater. Diana once spoke about how the paparazzi hounded her whenever she went running. Thus, I only re-interpreted looks that she wore publicly (rather than privately), when she was “on ceremony” and dolled up to the nines.

In one of my favorite portraits of Diana, she wears a tartan blazer and beret. Today, I like to imagine she’d be drawn to Balmain. Any beret-wearer worth her salt knows that Itchy Scratchy Patchy, co-helmed by supermodel Edie Campbell and her artist best friend, Christabel MacGreevy, is the way forward. The beret spells anarchy, because to the reticent and reserved royal family, Princess Diana was anarchic.

Ganni suit, vintage floral shirt — another here, vintage earrings — similar here, Manolo Blahnik mules

Next up, we have a pink suit. Diana wore pink suits in fuchsia, bubblegum, candy pink and baby. She wore them short-sleeved, long-sleeved, mini-skirted or purple-trimmed. There were black buttons, pearl buttons, ruffles and kick flares. Name a pink suit, she wore it… except for a trouser suit. Consider this your modern update. To cinch with a Diana spin, I’ve opted for ruffled floral prints (in one of her many pink suits she wore a rather Balenciaga-ish floral blouse underneath) and chunky gold earrings.

Polkadots were to the 80s what Monse is to polkadots now. This cut-out, bias-cut, leg-split polkadot dress is a 2017 spin, and according to Kenneth Jay Lane, the pearl choker is back. Strangely into it. Diana was rarely without a white court and white shoes are everywhere right now, not just in my wardrobe. Gianvito Rossi even makes the exact glossy black toe-capped white court she loved, if you think you can handle it.

Last but not least, the quintessential Diana look, barely untouched by me because it’s timeless: A tweedy blazer. A frilled shirt. Faded jeans. A big brown belt. Ice-white heels. She wore it then, I’d wear it now.

Hair by Hershesons, photos by Frances Davison.

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  • Rachel

    I love the renewed interest in Diana’s style! It’s giving me so much fashion inspo!!

  • Hayley

    You made me buy the tortuga belt (but I got the moss-colored version). Well done.

  • Eva Skewes

    Really regretting not buying that Tortuga belt a month(ish) ago when I saw it…now the small is all gone.

    As a main note: Pandora I’m always so impressed by how you make all these different style challenges feel so effortlessly you. It’s a delight to see how you make so many different clothes seem like second skins.

    • Pandora Sykes

      Thank you! That’s the ultimate compliment.

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    this is one of the few things to have brought me any semblance of joy these past few days….<3

  • cuffers27

    Pandora you look fantastic! Love this, think you have toed the respectful line very nicely.

  • tmm16

    All of this plaid is giving me life

  • Shevaun

    I am living for looks 1, 2, and 4.

    3 u good too I just don’t fuck with polka-dots.

  • I freaking love all these looks! A lovely homage to Princess Diana. I remember being so devastated when she died (idk why, I was six years old) and seeing all these photos are making me so happy!

  • The amount of beautiful blazers in this post is unreal.

  • Amelia Diamond

    I can’t even begin to explain how anxious this post makes me feel because I want to wear it all, right now, and I need everyone to know about it, and I need everyone to know that I want to dress this way and have always wanted to dress this way. I don’t know how to describe my emotions SEND HELP AND ALL OF THESE CLOTHES

    • Hayley

      If you get the belt we can be matching belt and *almost* matching hair twins.

  • Jessica

    Today I learned that I need a black beret in my life. Back in a bit, going to the hat shop.

  • Kirsten Kulyk

    Best article ever!

  • Love these looks! esp the tartan blazer

  • me

    ” …. I didn’t want to be exploitative or piss-takey.”

    piss-take(y) ? guess i’m a rube, because i have no clue what this word means !

    • Selina Moses

      She means taking the piss

  • Aydan

    THAT SUIT THAT SUIT THAT SUIT! I want to look that chic!

  • This is one of the best MR fashion pieces EVER! Love it! Great work Pandora!

  • Manon

    Diana actually wore a lot of Versace, Lauren and Dior in the last ten years of her life. The labels you cite were mainly confined to the eighties.

    • Pandora Sykes

      Yup, true – this is definitely a focus on the 80s Sloane Ranger part.

      • Ellery

        I did wonder but then I saw the photo from the nineties where she’s in jeans?.

  • Laura

    I love the pink suite you are wearing here – brilliant. I think Princess Diana had such great style. Recently, while looking at some pictures of her, I realized what an original she was. Back in the day, I couldn’t believe that someone in her position would ever have the imagination to style themselves the way she did – it blew me away. I don’t think anyone in the Royal Family currently dresses comparatively to her.

  • Charlotte P

    Beautiful! I love how you have made these looks cool, but not too cool. There’s something about the way Princess Diana was that was always approachable and kind which is one of the reasons I think people loved her so much. You have captured that vibe in the clothes you have chosen and in the photographs.

  • Cynthia Schoonover

    I adored Princess Diana’s clothes. I was pregnant with my second daughter, and I made a maternity dress in a style similar to the dresses she wore. I always thought she looked so elegant.

  • Dylana

    She was so ICONIC!

    xx

    http://www.dylanasuarez.com

  • Leanne Ripley

    Obsessed with this… What a creative idea to show her amazing-ness the way. Lady Di is perfection, and you captured that so well!

  • Cate

    Love the third look, but the blazer and top that are linked look like a different style from what’s in the photograph?

  • Lucia Vodanovic

    Love this, so talented! A bit Cindy Sherman too!

  • NinaNorwegian

    Pandora, or anyone; can you please tell me when when when can I get my common hands on that Ganni suit? I prey it is a comer not a gonner?

  • eden

    Diana was truly icocnic

  • Tess

    This is aspirational content, wish I could wear a pink suit like Pandora.

  • MAIRAJOHN

    dear pandora,
    you called the entire off-white collection this season with this post.