Princess Margaret’s personal style has been enthusiastically referenced in recent fashion collections, at all levels of the market. Many designers, including John Galliano for Dior and Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prorsum, cite her as a direct influence for their work. Princess Margaret’s prominence in contemporary fashion serves as confirmation that her refined dress sense has made her a classic style icon.
John Galliano’s autumn/winter 2005 haute couture collection for Christian Dior celebrated the centenary of Dior’s birthday, and paid homage to the Princess as a couture client. The Daily Telegraph described Galliano’s gowns as being in ‘the style of a young Princess Margaret and the dresses of British debutantes photographed by Sir Cecil Beaton.’
In the same vein, Ian Garlant’s elegant evening creations for Hardy Amies’ contemporary collections retain all the drama of the famous bejewelled evening dresses created by the esteemed London couture house for the Princess throughout her life.
Main image: Princess Margaret’s favourite style of shoes, sling-back with a slight platform heel, as this pair from the 1980s, has come back in fashion in recent years. (Private Collection © Historic Royal Palaces)
Meanwhile, Gemma Ainsworth’s 2005 Central Saint Martins graduate collection was reminiscent of Princess Margaret’s debutante dresses - full-skirted dance frocks in sugared almond shades of peach, pink and primrose yellow embellished with Swarovski crystals.
Christopher Bailey’s Burberry Prorsum range of spring/summer 2006 consisted of tailored evening coats and dresses in gold brocade, mirroring the Princess’s style in the 1950s and 1960s. Bailey identified ‘a young Princess Margaret’ as his inspiration, stating on style.com: ‘I wanted to be a bit more refined and grown-up. So I imagined a young English girl dressing as if she was an old-fashioned deb’.
In the Daily Mail Bailey described the collection as a meeting of ‘two opposite worlds – the elegant, aristocratic, sophisticated and classic versus the rebellious, gritty and down-to-earth’.
The catwalk trends inspired by the Princess inevitably found their way into high street stores. TopShop’s spring/summer 2006 collection launched an entire range dedicated to her, making Princess Margaret a muse of modern style.