The Ultimate Royal Closet: Princess Diana's Gowns on View Now

Princess Diana's Gowns now being shown at the Design Exchange

Keystone Press

Everyone wants to be a Princess lately (thanks to the new Duchess of Cambridge). At least a lucky few can purchase pieces from a wardrobe literally fit for royalty. The Design Exchange (234 Bay Street) in Toronto has unveiled the exhibit The Life of A Royal Icon, a collection of 14 evening gowns which were created for and worn by the late Princess Diana. This is the final time the gowns, which are now owned by Florida resident Maureen Rorech Dunkel, will be on display to the public before going to auction at Waddington’s on June 23.  

Dunkel originally purchased the dresses at a Christie’s auction weeks before Diana’s death. “This collection tells a story. When I originally collected it, I wanted it to visually depict Diana’s style transformation through the years,” she told CBC News.  “When she became a princess in the early ’80s, she had one look and by the time she became a woman on her own her look had changed dramatically and that’s really what the collection is about, it tells that story of her growing up through her fashion.”

The collection includes dresses by Bruce Oldfield and Victor Edelstein (he designed the famous midnight-blue dress that Diana wore when she joined John Travolta on the dance floor at a White House State Dinner). It also features gowns by Diana’s favourite designer Catherine Walker, including a beautiful one-shoulder Clerici ivory stain gown she wore during an official visit to Brazil. Three gowns that Diana wore for her famous Vanity Fair photo shoot, shot by Mario Testino are also on display. The exhibition runs from now until June 10th.–Ashley Singh