Ahead of today’s 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s sad death, there has been a rush of programmes, films, and documentaries devoted to Lady Spencer’s life and legacy, ranging from the most current season of The Crown to the Spencer biography starring Kristen Stewart.
The Princess, a new HBO documentary on Diana’s life, explores the narrative of her life and death using expertly chosen historical footage, portraying an intimate and eye-opening portrait. It emphasises that Diana’s strength and tribulations were frequently played out in public, thanks to her open approach and human touch, which won her the nickname “People’s Princess.” Her fashion evolution followed suit, from her early, girly leanings to her decade-appropriate experiments with ’80s-era hair feathering and teased-up volume finished off with bright headpieces, glittering accessories, and striking makeup. But it wasn’t until 1990 that she really came into her own, thanks to a chance meeting with hairstylist Sam McKnight on the set of a British Vogue shoot.
According to popular belief, McKnight utilised a few editorial tactics to make Diana’s hair appear smaller and shorter for the images; it looked wonderful, so he advised she cut it. “‘Shall we do it now?’ she asked. As a result, I did. “It was as easy as that,” McKnight says. “The ’80s had passed her by, and she was—bang!—in the ’90s.” Diana’s newfound ability to further customise the no-fuss look on her own—tucking it behind her ears, adding bangs, wearing it sleek or soft—became symptomatic of her personal growth into what McKnight characterises as “a streamlined ’90s working princess” who exuded confidence.
McKnight continued to work with Diana until her death, frequently seeing her once or twice a day and assisting in the creation of some of her most memorable beauty moments, from the cut heard around the globe to the wet look he gave her for the 1995 CFDA awards, when she was a celebrity presenter. “We had so much joy and laughter for seven years,” McKnight adds. “I still miss her.” Here are some of the Princess of Wales’ most unforgettable beauty moments.