Designer Zandra Rhodes was good friends with Princess Diana ever since the Princess of Wales wandered into her store off Bond Street back in 1986. Now in an exclusive interview with HELLO! to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana's death, Zandra has opened up about dressing the fashion icon, and their friendship over the years.
"I think she showed great daring coming to me," the designer told HELLO!. "I was considered cutting edge with my green then pink hair. Princess Diana had her own little ways of not conforming."
Speaking of their first meeting, she said: "She came in with her sister-in-law Sarah [then Duchess of York] and Diana bought her a dress. It was a Manhattan – flowing chiffon in shocking pink and black, if I remember rightly. Then a communication came from the Palace about a personal appointment and, from then on, I went to see her there."
The now 76-year-old, who has been a dame since 2015, spoke fondly of how she watched Diana blossom over time. "Getting to know her a little over the years was fascinating," she said. "She grew in confidence, although I did notice she bit her nails. She grew into the job and became aware of her power. It was like watching a swan grow."
Zandra revealed that she had seen the Princess shortly before her tragic death in 1997, and spoke of their last meeting. "I’d seen Diana not that long before her death, when she was selling a collection of her dresses for charity in New York," she said.
"We laughed and said, ‘Fancy seeing you here!’ She looked well and happy. She’d become very self-assured, but was still as open and friendly as she was the first time we met in the 1980s. It was devastating to hear of her death."
Read the full interview in HELLO! magazine, out now