Oldfield graduated from Central Saint Martins in 1973, and, after working with Henri Bendel in New York, he launched his eponymous label in 1975. His brand has always had a strong connection with high-profile clients—his first celebrity commission came courtesy of Bianca Jagger, who tasked him with altering a suit that once belonged to Rita Hayworth. It’s Diana, Princess of Wales, though, that made Bruce Oldfield a favorite of the Sloane Ranger set in the ’80s—with the designer working closely with British Vogue’s Anna Harvey to put together a wardrobe befitting a modern royal for the young princess.
“I met the princess a few weeks after her wedding,” Oldfield told British Vogue in the ’90s. “I think for all of us there was always this problem that there wasn’t a clear idea of how she should dress. She was aware that even in some far-flung part of the world she was representing Britain, and she couldn’t be a glamorous clotheshorse. I remember one occasion where I urged her to shorten her skirt. But she still resisted going too far. I said, ‘You should look at the miniskirts Princess Margaret wore in the ’60s.’ At the very beginning she didn’t care about clothes, but gradually she grew to enjoy fashion. One thing I noticed was that she’d lock her knees backwards. She wore her skirts below the knee at that time and I’d look at pictures of her and think, ‘What the hell is she doing?’ Then I realized that she was pushing those knees backwards, I’d tell her not to and she’d say, ‘Stop nagging.’”
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