Princess Diana's iconic 1980s dresses go on display

Princess Diana was a fashion leader to many and now those she inspired can see her memorable dresses on display - some for the first time in the UK.

Gowns created for the Princess by designers like Bruce Oldfield, Zandra Rhodes and Catherine Walker will feature in the new exhibition that showcases her 1980s look.

The display being staged at Kensington Palace opens to the public today and also features outfits worn by the Queen and Princess Margaret.

Three of the dresses on display at Kensington Palace
Three of the dresses on display at Kensington Palace Credit: PA

A evening dress created by Murray Arbeid and worn by the Princess in 1986 is going on display for the first time in Britain.

The midnight blue strapless gown that features a theatrical fishtail skirt of multiple tulle layers, graced a dinner held for the President of Greece Christos Sartzetakis at Claridge's hotel in London.

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a Murray Arbeid dress, at the Phantom of the Opera premiere in October 1986
Princess Diana wearing a Murray Arbeid dress at the Phantom of the Opera premiere in 1986 Credit: Anwar Hussein/Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

Another Diana outfit not displayed before in the UK was designed by Jacques Azagury and worn in 1985 in Italy for a dinner given by the mayor of Florence.

Famed for his 'new romantics' collection, his dress of synthetic velvet embroidered with sequins and glass beads, features key 1980s trends with its padded shoulders, dropped waist and oversize bow.

Princess Diana in a Jacques Azagury number at a banquet given by the Mayor of Florence
Princess Diana in a Jacques Azagury number at a banquet given by the Mayor of Florence Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cassie Davies-Strodder, curator of the exhibition, said:

The palace is a magical setting to celebrate these modern royal women in their fashion heyday, providing a rare opportunity to get up close to these wonderful dresses and be transported to the times in which they were worn.

– Cassie Davies-Strodder, curator
A dress worn by Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in 1986 at the Fashion Rules Royal Dress Exhibition in Kensington Palace
A dress worn by Princess Diana in Saudi Arabia in 1986 at the Fashion Rules Royal Dress Exhibition in Kensington Palace Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Other highlights include a kaftan and turban outfit worn by Margaret on her favourite Caribbean hideaway, the island of Mustique, in 1976.

A dress and turban worn by Princess Margaret on the island of Mustique in 1976
A dress and turban worn by Princess Margaret on the island of Mustique in 1976 Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

The clothes have not been on display before and were created by costume designer Carl Toms for a fancy dress party held on the island.