As the 20th anniversary of her death approaches, a new exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story, is set to open this weekend at her former home, Kensington Palace.
The exhibit will showcase 25 of her most iconic outfits, as well as anecdotes and explanations behind some of her most talked-about looks.
In her work, Diana often wanted to “convey approachability and warmth,” Eleri Lynn, the curator of the exhibit, tells PEOPLE. A desire which strongly impacted her fashion choices and her decision to stop wearing hats and gloves.
“When she was visiting hospitals for example she would wear cheerful clothes that would convey warmth and often chunky jewelry so that children could come and play with them,” says Lynn.
“She abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact. She also stopped wearing hats because she said, ‘You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.'”
One of the iconic looks on display is the ‘John Travolta’ dress she wore when she shared a dance with the actor at the White House during a royal tour to the US in 1985.
“She was influenced by the cinema and the arts and she was also a very capable dancer—she had wanted to be a ballet dancer as a young girl,” says Lynn.
“So this was really a meeting of her interest in cinema and her love of dance—to be dancing with John Travolta. The dress is a real masterpiece,” she continued of the off-the-shoulder, midnight blue gown.
“The design is fantastic. You only see the detail close-up. Photos do not do this dress justice.”
Other looks include the "Elvis' dress by one of her go-to designers, Catherine Walker which was actually an homage to queens and princesses of the past.
“It was covered with 20,000 pearls and the weight of it is quite extraordinary,” added Lynn.