She was the people's princess. With class, timeless style, flair and just enough vulnerability that we could almost relate to her. She appeared on the cover of People more than any other celebrity and we followed her every move. Fascinated.
To me, she was also the master of the makeover. And since I love to make almost anything over, it was what appealed most to me about Princess Diana. She was a survivior and never stopped reinventing herself.
We watched her develop from the Shy Di awkward teenager to a fairytale princess who became a fashion rock star. To the mother of an heir and a spare. To a divorced mother. And then we watched her as she tried to start a new life for herself. And when she tragically died, we couldn't believe that she was gone. Too soon. A candle in the wind, as Elton John sang at her funeral. This was not the way it was meant to end.
This past Saturday I went to see the Dresses of Inspiration exhibit at the von Lieberg Art Center in Naples. Coincidently, my best friend and college roommate was here for a visit so it was a perfect outing to Naples for us to share.
For a couple of hours, Princess Diana is with us. Those 20 beautiful dresses on loan from collectors from all over the world. All originally sold at auction and put together in this gorgeous exhibit. The idea of auctioning 79 of her dresses was originally that of her son, Prince William and she actually selected the dresses to donate with the proceeds going to her charities. A portion of the proceeds from this particular exhibition will benefit two local breast cancer charities. For a moment I could see her dancing at the White House with John Travolta. And I wondered what her next makeover would have revealed. We knew she had faults, like all of us. But for a short time she inspired us. And then she was gone.
The exhibition also includes a touching collection of her Christmas cards. First with Prince Charles. Then Prince Charles and their sons as they grew up. Then alone with her sons. There is also a room filled with items belonging to the royal family and a fascinating collection of newspaper articles chronicalling a young Queen Elizabeth.
But Diana is still the star of the show.