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Part of the power which Princess Diana’s legacy holds in 2022, 25 years after her tragic death at the age of 36, is its visual appeal.

From movies to art, editorials, runway collections and street style, the visual aesthetic curated, and ultimately left behind, by Diana is identifiable across our cultural platforms today.

In August, the anniversary of the princess’ death saw a surge in social media posts about the royal go viral, further aided by the impeding release of a new season of Netflix’s The Crown in which Diana was played by Australian-born actress Elizabeth Debicki.

Part of The Crown’s winning formula to presenting a believable and authentic Diana has been the painstaking recreation of some of her most famous looks, from her 1981 David and Elizabeth Emanuel wedding gown, to her 1994 Christina Stambolian “revenge dress”.

Princess Diana Fashion Moments

Princess Diana photographed (L) at Balmoral in 1981 and (R) in London in 1989. The princess’ fashion legacy is still revered around the world 25 years after her death. Anwar Hussein/Jayne Fincher/Getty Images

An aspect of the show which captured the attention of many viewers who may not have been born at the time of her death, was how young she was when she entered the royal family and faced the scrutiny of being on the world’s stage.

Lady Diana Spencer met Prince Charles when she was 16 through her older sister Sarah. The pair began dating when she was 19 in 1980 and became engaged less than a year later.

By the time she was 20, Diana had married the most eligible bachelor in the world, become the Princess of Wales and the most photographed woman on the planet.

The couple’s two children were born before the royal’s 24th birthday, they officially separated when she was 30, divorced at 35 and would die in a Paris car crash just two months after her 36th birthday.

During her lifetime, Diana developed her personal style to convey messages and set the tone for some of her unspoken inner turmoil. After her death her dresses became relics, now housed in museums across the world being preserved for future generations.

Here, Newsweek looks at a collection of Princess Diana’s most iconic outfits and the age she was when she wore them.

First Royal Engagement Dress, 1981—Age: 19

Lady Diana Spencer made a splash at her first public engagement as Prince Charles’ 19-year-old fiancé by wearing a daring strapless black evening gown which was widely reported on for going against royal protocol and fashion convention at the time.

Remembering the gown some years later, the royal described how she thought it was extremely “grown-up” at the time despite earning criticism from Charles.

Princess Diana Emanuel Black Evening Gown, 1981

Lady Diana Spencer photographed wearing a black Emanuel evening gown at the Goldsmiths Hall, London, March 9, 1981. Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Knockout Knitwear, 1981—Age: 19

As Diana-mania grew in the months leading up to her wedding, the press and public reported ferociously on her fashion choices.

On a springtime visit to Craigowan Lodge on the queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, Charles and Diana sat for a photocall and for the occasion she selected an iconic piece of knitwear.

The alpaca knit sweater was purchased from the London based Peruvian import store, Inca, by the soon-to-be-royal in 1981 and was valued at the time at $8. After wearing the piece for the photoshoot, business for Inca boomed and the sweater was recreated for season four of Netflix’s The Crown.

Princess Diana Knitwear 1981

Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles photographed on the queen’s Balmoral estate, May 6, 1981. Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Dress of the Century, 1981—Age: 20

Princess Diana’s wedding dress is among the most famous dresses in world history. Around 750 million people tuned in to watch the 20-year-old walk down the aisle in the custom Emanuel design which featured voluminous paper taffeta skirts, puffed sleeves and a 25-foot train.

The princess decided not to part with her wedding dress after her divorce and it was inherited after her death by her two sons who agreed for it to be displayed at Kensington Palace in 2021.

Princess Diana Wedding Dress, 1981

Princess Diana photographed on her wedding day wearing a custom Emanuel gown, July 29, 1981. Express Newspapers/Getty Images/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Royal Tour Wardrobe, 1985—Age: 24

As a member of the royal family, Diana became keenly aware that what she wore could make an impact and send powerful signals.

In 1985 at the age of 24, the mother-of-two and Prince Charles embarked on an important visit to Australia. To make an impact the princess wore a striking turquoise Emanuel evening gown with asymmetric shoulder detail.

The outfit is most remembered for Diana’s creative utilization of her jewelry, turning Queen Mary’s heirloom 1920s choker necklace into a head ornament for the evening.

Princess Diana Emanuel Gown, Australia 1984

Princess Diana photographed in Australia wearing an Emanuel evening gown with Queen Mary’s choker necklace mounted as a head ornament, October 31, 1984. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images/Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Fashion Muse, 1989—Age: 28

As the 1990s approached, Princess Diana moved away from the outlandish designs of the 1980s that earned her the nickname “Dynasty-Di” and streamlined her aesthetic into the more classic style replicated today.

For a planned visit to Hong Kong, Diana asked her close friend and fashion collaborator Catherine Walker to design her a spectacular pearl-encrusted dress and bolero jacket.

When the dress was completed, the royal decided it couldn’t wait until her visit to Hong Kong to be worn so she debuted it at the British Fashion Awards in London. Aware that the designer of the dress wasn’t nominated that night, the princess wrote Walker afterwards, saying: “Dearest Catherine, To my best designer of the year, fondest love from Diana.”

The design’s sillhouette earned itself the nickname of the “Elvis dress,” and Walker would go on to create more dresses for Diana than any other designer.

Princess Diana "Elvis Dress" 1989

Princess Diana photographed wearing a Catherine Walker design to the British Fashion Awards, London, October 1989. Jayne Fincher/Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

Revenge Dressing, 1994—Age: 32

At the age of 32, Princess Diana and Prince Charles had been separated for two years, with the couple engaged in a head-on battle in the press dubbed the “war of the Waleses.”

Part of this was Charles’ participation in a TV interview with broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, during which he openly admitted to being unfaithful to his wife during their marriage once the union had become “irretrievably broken down.”

On the evening of the interview’s broadcast, Diana caused a sensation by wearing a low-cut, short skirted, black cocktail dress to an arts dinner at London’s Serpentine Gallery. The royal’s appearance generated such interest that it was nicknamed the “revenge dress” for knocking Charles off the following day’s front pages.

Princess Diana "Revenge Dress", 1994

Princess Diana photographed wearing her “revenge dress,” Serpentine Gallery, June 1994. Jayne Fincher/Getty Images/Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

The Last Birthday Dress, 1997—Age: 36

By the time she turned 36, Princess Diana was divorced and forging a new path towards a public life centered around humanitarian work and a private life with new personal relationships.

The dress the royal wore to a charity ball on the evening of her 36th birthday was a gift from one of her favorite new designers, Jacques Azagury.

The column cut black embellished evening gown featured bow details on the straps that the royal liked so much she had them incorporated into a shorter version of the dress in blue.

The royal died just weeks after the birthday event, while Azagury was working on a number of designs that he would not have the opportunity to deliver.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death in the year she would have turned 61. Last year the royal’s two sons unveiled a statue in her honor at her former home, Kensington Palace.

Princess Diana 36th Birthday Dress, 1997

Princess Diana photographed on the evening of her 36th birthday wearing a Jacques Azagury design, July 1, 1997. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

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