Diana: Fashionista who shook up the royal dress code

Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales on Nov. 15, 1992 / on Sept. 27, 1991 and on Oct 31, 1996. (AFP)
Updated 17 August 2017
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Diana: Fashionista who shook up the royal dress code

LONDON: Princess Diana revolutionized the royal dress code with the help of some of the world’s greatest designers during a glamorous life that came to a tragic end 20 years ago this month.
“Diana has become a fashion icon in the same way as Jackie Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn — timeless, elegant, and still so relevant,” said Eleri Lynn, curator of “Diana: Her Fashion Story,” an exhibition at her Kensington Palace home in London.
Nicknamed “Shy Di” ahead of her marriage to Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, in 1981, Diana came out of her shell and realized how her clothes could be used as a powerful communication tool.
“The princess learned to make her wardrobe say what she could not, and worked closely with designers like Catherine Walker to curate her personality through clothes,” Sophie Goodwin, fashion director of Tatler magazine, told The New York Times in February.
Diana mastered the art of wearing the right dress for the right occasion.
She wore bright clothes when visiting hospices, in order to appear warm and accessible.
On foreign visits, she would chose clothes inspired by the national colors, such as the white dress with red spots she wore on the trip to Japan in 1986.
She chose not to wear gloves “because she liked to make contact with the people she was meeting,” said Lynn.
Pictures of the princess shaking hands with AIDS patients in 1987 helped to break down myths surrounding the disease, including the unfounded fear of being able to catch it through touching sufferers.
The most photographed woman of the age, Diana understood the rules of royal dressing but was not afraid of twisting them.
She breached royal protocol by wearing a black ballgown, a color worn formally by royal women only during mourning.
Her outfits included androgynous gear, such as a tuxedo and a bow tie.
“That is quite the bold, fun look that you do not necessarily expect of a princess,” said Lynn.
She said Diana was the first woman in the royal family to wear trousers to an evening event.
She also helped to modernize the royal wardrobe, with outfits that made a lasting impression.
The midnight blue Victor Edelstein velvet evening gown she wore for a dinner at the White House in 1985 is one of her most famous.
It was in this dress that the princess danced with US actor John Travolta, to the hit “You Should Be Dancing” from the film “Saturday Night Fever” in which he starred.
Nicknamed the Travolta dress, it even has its own Wikipedia page and sold for £240,000 ($318,000, 268,000 euros) at auction in 2013.
After her divorce from Charles in 1996, Diana switched up her style once again, abandoning the British designers she had relied upon in favor of international fashion houses such as Dior, Lacroix or Chanel.
Diana ditched the frills, taffeta and giant ball gowns and adopted more daring outfits, like the figure-hugging sky blue Jacques Azagury dress that went as far above the knee as the designer felt he could go at the time with a princess.
“For so many years, the princess of Wales was the world’s one and only fashion obsession, and the forerunner of modern glamor as we know it. She had to make it all up for herself,” wrote Sarah Mower in the Daily Mail newspaper.
Diana’s look was widely copied and still inspires catwalks and designers to this day.
The online clothing site ASOS launched a Diana-inspired collection in October 2016, playing on her off-duty look.
Her style even has a presence in the social media age.
An Instagram account called Princess Diana Forever, which has 160,000 followers, posts a daily picture of her in various outfits, bringing her to a new generation.


Streisand apologizes for remarks on Michael Jackson accusers

In this Dec. 14, 1986, file photo, singers Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson attend the Scopus Awards of the American Friends of the Hebrew University ceremony in Los Angeles. (AP)
Updated 24 March 2019
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Streisand apologizes for remarks on Michael Jackson accusers

  • Barbra Streisand wrote in that earlier statement: “To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone”

NEW YORK: Barbra Streisand apologized Saturday for her remarks about Michael Jackson and two men who have accused him of sexual abuse, saying that she should have chosen her words more carefully and that she admires the accusers for “speaking their truth.”
Streisand had received bitter criticism online after she was quoted in The Times of London as saying that Jackson’s accusers were “thrilled to be there” during the alleged abuse, which “didn’t kill them.”
After an initial statement Saturday to The Associated Press in which she sought to clarify her remarks, the superstar of song, stage and screen posted an apology online that went further.
“I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully about Michael Jackson and his victims,” she wrote.
“I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way,” she wrote. “Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth.”
The apology went far beyond the earlier statement to the AP, in which she elaborated on her published remarks, saying she felt “nothing but sympathy” for the men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who accuse the late star of molesting them as children.
She wrote in that earlier statement: “To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone.”
The remarks in question came deep into a wide-ranging interview with The Times. Asked about Jackson, Streisand was quoted as saying she “absolutely” believed Robson and Safechuck, who make their allegations in the recent HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.”
Jackson’s estate has condemned the HBO documentary. Jackson, who died in 2009, was found not guilty in 2005 of charges he molested a 13-year-old boy.
Streisand was asked about the documentary, which she called “too painful.”
She then said that Jackson, when she met him, was “very sweet, very childlike.” Asked how she reconciled that man with the one portrayed in the documentary, she replied: “His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has. You can say ‘molested,’ but those children, as you heard say, they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn’t kill them.”
Among those firing back on social media was the director of “Leaving Neverland,” Dan Reed, who wrote of that last quote: “Did you really say that?!“
Asked by The Times whether she was angry at Jackson, Streisand said: “It’s a combination of feelings. I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents, who would allow their children to sleep with him.”
Also attracting attention Saturday for remarks about Jackson was his close friend and mentor Diana Ross.
“This is what’s on my heart this morning,” Ross wrote on Twitter. “I believe and trust that Michael Jackson was and is A magnificent incredible force to me and to many others.”