A new book explores how Diana invented Revenge Fashion.
Eloise Moran, British fashion journalist and author of the Lady Di Look Book, offers a unique take on the emotions of the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death — and why she has a forever place in our hearts.
What kinds of emotions does the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death carry with it?
It’s so surreal still to this day to think this woman, who was so alive and touched so many people, is no longer here. She was this other-worldly person, but then, people really felt that they knew her like family. This tragic death happened in such an ordinary way –– thousands of people die in car crashes every year –– yet it was a high-speed chase by paparazzi. She was always followed by paparazzi, and there was always the fear of what could happen. I think people still have a hard time comprehending that someone like Diana can die in such a terrible way. Because of all my research, I’ve watched so much footage at this point, but every time I watch, it still has me choked up. It’s a sad day for everyone.
Diana’s missed so much in these last 25 years. Her sons both have their own families. What do you think she’d think of where they are now?
She missed out on her boys’ adult lives, but I think she’d be happy to see that in their own ways they’re finding senses of normalcy. Diana’s legacy lives on through them. She was a personable individual, and she was very tactile. I think her boys inherited those qualities. She would have probably liked the fact that Harry lives in America because she loved coming to visit the states. If she was still alive, she’d be over here all the time. Diana was always drawn to Americans and maybe a little bit of a freer way of thinking, a more outspoken nature. I think she would understand where Harry and Meghan were coming from in terms of transporting their life over to the states, and this quest for privacy and carving out their own paths –– not just taking the route of the establishment and the institution.
How did your interest in Diana first develop?
My interest in Diana started in 2018. I was going through my own marriage breakup at 25, an intense and young age to be going through a marriage breakup. I came across a documentary of Diana and felt really connected to her, which I found quite interesting because she should be this person who’s the least relatable person in the world.
That’s when I started my Instagram account, Lady Di Revenge Looks, documenting all of her best post-divorce looks. I’ve always worked in fashion. I first started the account as an outlet for my own thoughts toward my ex. I didn’t intend for it to go anywhere. I came across all these incredible outfits of Diana’s in the 90s. And at the time, no one was really posting anything about 90s Diana, which is difficult to imagine now because our Instagram feeds are inundated with Diana photos. She had such a natural, inherent sense of style. I thought it would be fun to document these looks, because when she wasn’t dressing like a princess, that was the opportunity for her to be rebellious in some way.
What does Princess Diana’s style reveal about how she is feeling at different moments in time?
If you look at her facial expressions from early on, she was overwhelmed by everything. As you move on throughout the 80s, you see her growing confidence with her style. Her “Dynasty Di” era was fabulous. She was showing the world that she wasn’t comfortable with standing in the shadows anymore. She wanted to be seen. She wasn’t OK with standing behind her husband as she once was in the early 80s when she was trying to be a dutiful wife. And then in the 90s, we’ve got all these amazing minimal off-duty business casual looks. There are so many great pantsuits. I think those represent Diana as a free modern woman, which is why those resonate the most with people now.
Congratulations on your newly released book, The Lady Di Look Book: What Diana Was Trying to Tell Us Through Her Clothes. What can readers expect from it?
The book celebrates Diana’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. It’s the full biography, from the early 80s to the late 90s when she died. It covers all her best revenge looks and what she was trying to say through her clothes. Ultimately, it’s a very feminist retelling of her story that shows more her side of the story rather than all of these new renderings of Diana, such as Spencer and The Crown. I think these shows both really played on the mental illness factor and that she had an eating disorder. I think they made her look overly fragile. This is a celebration of Diana that shows all her strengths and hopefully inspires women. I hope readers take away that Diana was a strong person, despite what she suffered from and her very human flaws, which most people and especially most women have been through in some way. I also hope the readers enjoy the sense of humor that runs through it, and they feel very inspired to dump their bad boyfriends and go shopping.