Sunday, November 1, 2009

Unexpected Elegance

The Diana Exhibit at Philadelphia's National Constitution Center is really a surprisingly sweet look back on the former princess's life and fashion.

The piece de resistance, her iconic wedding dress, was there in all its glory, flanked by video of the wedding day. I remember as a teenager, watching this wedding unfold like a fairy tale on television, enthralled by all the pomp and the yards and yards of silk. Today, more than 25 years later, the dress seems fussy and a little too-cute in parts, embellished with puffs and bows and volume. But it was still a thrill to see it up close.

Diana's later fashion choices, from the beaded evening gowns to the boxy day dresses that were all the rage in the 80s -- my God, why did anyone think all that shoulder paddage was necessary? -- evolved into the fluidly draped silk dresses with intricate beading that caught the light as she made her entrance on every red carpet, elegantly exiting the limousine ever-ready to shake the hand of whomever was greeting her.

It is impossible to imagine living life enduring such scrutiny.

I'm no Anglophile, but it was still interesting to view some of the dresses that have appeared in photos over the years -- in all, a lovely way to spend a fall Sunday afternoon.

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