There are certain hairstyles that instantly become iconic. So iconic that they’re known by a single name, like “the Farrah” or “the Rachel.” But no hairstyle captured hearts quite like Princess Diana’s did. From the moment she stepped into the public eye, Princess Diana’s hair became the most copied style in the world.
We probably remember Diana most as the way she looked in the ’90s, before her tragic death in a car accident in Paris in 1997. At the time, Diana was the most photographed woman in the world. She was beautiful and stylish. Her hair was short, sophisticated and blonde. It seemed to shimmer in photographs. She was ’90s glamour personified.
Diana was only nineteen years old when she became engaged to Prince Charles. Her official name and title might have been Lady Diana Spencer, but the public nicknamed her Lady Di. The year was 1980, and suddenly every stylist on both sides of the pond was getting requests for Lady Di’s short, layered cut.
Throughout the ’80s, hairstyles grew bigger. (We’re talking really big, guys.) Diana’s hair was no exception.
She wasn’t just the Duchess of Wales. She also became Queen of the Blowout.
So how did her sleek ’90s look that we know so well actually come about?
Apparently, it was a spur of the moment decision, prompted by a comment her by her stylist, Sam McKnight. McKnight recently wrote an article for the Daily Mail, sharing the secrets of some of his most well-known clients. According to McKnight, he’d just styled Diana’s hair for this 1990 photograph for Vogue, which instantly became one of her most famous pictures.
For the photo, McKnight pinned her hair behind the tiara so it looked shorter. He writes, “Afterwards, she asked me: ‘What would you do with my hair if I gave you free rein?’ Feeling brave, I said: ‘I would cut it all off.'”
Diana was down with his suggestion. McKnight goes on to say, “‘Let’s do it,’ she said. So I cut it off there and then. I had no idea what was about to ensue…That was one of the cuts that women suddenly wanted. You saw it everywhere — on the High Street, on newsreaders — it was a real counterpoint to big Eighties hair, part of a sportier, more androgynous look, but, because it was Princess Diana, it was still hugely feminine.”
It’s pretty fascinating to hear how such a legendary hairstyle came about. And we might not be royal, but we can totally relate! Who hasn’t made a spontaneous hair decision while sitting in a salon?
We still love Diana’s ’90s look. It works just as well today as it did back then. After all, isn’t that what being a classic is all about?