HomeFashionPrincess Diana's fashion designer known as 'people's darling' dies aged 94

Princess Diana’s fashion designer known as ‘people’s darling’ dies aged 94


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BELINDA Bellville, Princess Diana’s favourite fashion designed, has died aged 94.

The clothing icon, who also dressed huge figures such as Princess Margaret, Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy, died on May 5.


Belinda Bellville has died aged 94
Fashion designer and former model Belinda pictured in 1960


Fashion designer and former model Belinda pictured in 1960Credit: Getty

Belinda was also hugely popular owing to always maintaining her clients’ privacy, referring to Diana simply as “Miss Buckingham” in her appointments book.

Born in Leicestershire in March 1930, she was inspired into fashion by her gran, who ran a dress shop in Savile Row during the 1920s.

During the war, Belinda helped make her mum garments out of whatever materials they could find, such as old curtains, as clothes had been rationed.

She went on to study at Miss Faunce’s school in Wimborne, Dorset, before starting her own fashion house Bellville et Cie in 1953 – aged 23.

Needing money to grow the business, she resorted to selling her Citroen car for £500, before hosting her first show in 1953.

It was a huge success and orders soon began flooding in for ball gowns and wedding dresses.

Belinda soon became popular with royals, on one occasion showing off a bridesmaid dress she had made for Princess Anne to Queen Elizabeth.

Her Majesty remarked: “‘It’s very nice. Will it wash?”

In February 1981, and with the Bellville brand continuing to grow, a then 19-year-old Diana visited her store in Knightsbridge.

She ran the store in partnership with fellow fashion designer David Sassoon.

He told Channel 5 documentary Secrets of the Royal Wardrobe: “Her mother brought her into us to have a trousseau made.

“She had previously come in and there was a disaster with the vendeuse.

“She chose about ten dresses and her mother paid for them.

“I was thrilled she asked us to design her going-away outfit although I was disappointed we didn’t do her wedding dress.”

The store made more than 70 dresses for Diana across nearly 20 years.

Belinda is also credited with helping the princess become a fashion icon.

Also among her clients have been Queen Camilla, Joan Collins, Helen Mirren and Ivana Trump.

David Sassoon and Belinda at their fashion salon Bellville Sassoon in Knightsbridge in November 1981


David Sassoon and Belinda at their fashion salon Bellville Sassoon in Knightsbridge in November 1981Credit: Getty

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