Kensington Palace exhibition to display Diana's fashion history

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Dresses and outfits worn by Diana, Princess of Wales have been shipped to London from New York and Chile for a new exhibition.

Diana: Her Fashion Story will open on Friday at Kensington Palace, the royal residence she called home for more than 15 years.

One of the dresses, which arrived from the Museum of Fashion in Santiago, Chile, is a blue chiffon evening gown inspired by Grace Kelly that Diana wore to the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

The new London collection charts the princess's fashion history though the years, from a pink ball gown to a black number described by designer Catherine Walker as Diana's first "sexy" dress.

Senior curator Deirdre Murphy said she wanted to show Diana's evolution "from a shy and maybe a bit naive teenager to a supremely confident working woman".

She added: "The interest really shows the princess's enduring legacy as someone who people all over the world related to during her lifetime and continue to relate to.

"I think for a lot of people they see something of the princess in themselves."

Visitors will be able to see dresses such as the silk velvet evening gown worn by Diana as she danced with John Travolta.

She donned the Victor Edelstein dress at a state dinner at the White House in 1985, and pictures of her dancing with the Hollywood star made their way around the world.

Diana was revered as a fashion innovator before her death in 1997, but was also known for her charity work.

Also on display is a shimmering white sequinned gown she wore for her 1991 trip to Brazil, where she made a point of removing her glove to shake hands with an Aids patient. 

Her personal style and preferences can also be seen in the sketches on display at Kensington Palace - on one dress design Diana has written "Please!"