Diana’s memorable ‘engagement portrait’ was, in truth, an accident of fate. The picture, taken by the late Lord Snowdon, was originally commissioned as part of a Vogue feature on ‘upcoming beauty’, and had been facilitated by her elder sisters, Sarah and Jane, who had both worked for the title.
Diana walked into the shoot and, faced with a rail of clothes, made a beeline for this blouse with its distinctive satin neck ribbon. It was made by the then-unknown young husband and wife design duo, David and Elizabeth Emanuel.
Fortuitously for Vogue — and the Emanuels — the timing of the publication coincided with the announcement of Lady Diana Spencer’s engagement to the Prince of Wales.
In a matter of days, the young aristocrat’s comfortable world had exploded, making her choice of the delicate shell-pink blouse, which emphasised her fragile beauty, all the more poignant.
Quickly dubbed ‘Lady Di’ blouses as the nation fell in love with their new princess-to-be, pie-crust collars and pussy-bows became the height of fashion, and thousands of imitations promptly sold out on the High Street.
Diana loved its makers so much that she famously asked the Emanuels to design her wedding dress. And she remained loyal to them, even after an over-sized green and black tweed coat they made for her was dubbed ‘the horse blanket’ by the international media.
Mail style editor Dinah van Tulleken, says Diana’s iconic blouse would still be the height of fashion today