‘she declared she was ‘independent’ and would pay for her purchases herself’
There is no doubt Princess Diana’s style was a massive influence for designers and Royal fans alike, thanks to some pretty iconic looks. But how did Diana actually piece together her looks? Presenter and editor Stefan Kyriazis, who once managed the Joseph flagship store in Kensington and personally served high profile celebrity customers, one being Princess Diana as the shop was closed and cleared for her, reveals what really happened when he spent one hour with her.
The store was completely shut down and staff was asked to go in another room
When I served Princess Diana at Joseph the entire store was closed for her. We had warning that morning and all other staff (14 people) were asked to go to the staff room for the duration of her visit apart from myself and the cashier. This was common at the time. Large department stores like Harvey Nichols were also famously closed for her visits so she could browse in peace.
Even so, the large shop is glass-fronted on three sides and openly visible to passers-by. But Diana’s visit was so discreetly handled that it went completely unremarked by anyone outside, there were no paparazzi at all and this was the days before smart phones so there was no risk of anyone taking a candid shot through the windows.
Princess Diana had a small entourage
Diana was accompanied by just one lady-in-waiting, plus two security waiting discreetly at the main entrance. Her relationship with her companion was informal and relaxed, just two friends shopping together with chatter and some laughter. She asked me directly for anything she needed, solicited advice and was extremely approachable.
Princess Diana shopped for these items
Diana was dressed in cropped beige trousers with a light coloured loose top and flat shoes. She was shopping for similar items. It was early summer and she was drawn to creams, beige and neutral colours. Nothing fussy or embroidered. Like her general style, she kept it clean, stream-lined and simple.
Rather than seek out the very expensive designer labels in the store like Prada, Yohji Yamamoto or Alexander MacQueen, she stuck to the in-house label, Joseph Tricot. This reflected her own tastes and shopping habits. Still expensive but not excessive. Quality and versatility in items that were stylish but never faddish. Fashionable but never slavishly following trends. Aware of her own style and her impact on popular culture and the fashion industry but not seeking to influence or reflect others.
Princess Diana paid full price for her items as she was separated from Prince Charles
Diana did not ask for any kind of discount. It is often customary dealing with royal clients to send bills on to the relevant palace (St James, Buckingham or in her case, Kensington Palace.) We asked if we should do the same but the most extraordinary moment came when she pulled out a credit card with a flourish.
It was during her separation from Prince Charles but before any final divorce announcement. The princess had been charming and friendly but rather quiet. At this moment her face broke into a huge grin as she declared she was ‘independent’ and would pay for her purchases herself.
Princess Diana was very shy
She rarely looked at anyone directly for any period of time. It was shyness and when I held her gaze a little too long she spontaneously blushed. There was awareness but no artifice.