Nowadays we have style icons, but a few decades ago they were still ‘heroines.’ The Princess of Wales became the ‘Supersloane’ heroine of the 1980s. Her transformation from the bashful Mark II Sloane Ranger ‘Lady Di Look’ to English romantic taffeta-clad Mark I style was amusingly documented in ‘80s style bible, The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook (intriguingly subtitled The First Guide To What Really Matters in Life).
BC, before Charles, Diana wore the Young Sloane wardrobe, central to which were granny’s pearls and “ruffled shirts with ribbons at the neck”. We’ve an original 1980s example at ShopCurious, made by fellow heroine of Wales, Laura Ashley - the designer behind the popular homespun look of the day. In fact, as sales of her Victorian and Edwardian inspired floral dresses and frilly bow tied shirts rocketed, Ashley also underwent something of a metamorphosis from small time dressmaker to international business woman.
The Princess of Wales, or PoWess (pronounced Powys) and her Laura Ashley style were much emulated by young girls, especially in the UK, but farther afield too. Her sensible Pearly Princess, fresh-faced, effortless look and impeccable manners (instilled by a nanny) commanded the respect of young and old alike.
As we know, Diana retained her individuality, but in an appropriately retro-progressive way: “Like many of her contemporaries – flat sharing SW7 and SW10 girls under 20 – she did the old things… but with a new flair.” Initially at least, she stuck to the rules, and everything seemed hunky dory and everyone seemed reasonably happy…
Now there don’t seem to be so many rules. British society is much more of a free for all. Pink cheeked, naturally buxom country girls have gone all beer-bellied, teeth whitened and tattooed. Their dream goal of marrying Prince Charming replaced with a burning desire to appear on the
But have we started looking back to the past again, with the current revival in all things homespun and vintage? Kate Middleton certainly has some genuine colour in her cheeks and seems suitably un-cool, old fashioned and demure, like a proper lady.
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