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Queen Elizabeth I, circa 1558

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Throughout history, the tantalising colour of purple has been associated with royalty, power and wealth. Due to the large expense it took to create the dye needed to adorn garments in its rich hue, only the upper echelons of high society could ever afford it. In 1574, Queen Elizabeth I’s Sumptuary Laws forbid anyone but royalty from wearing the shade but by 1856, William Henry Perkin, a chemist searching for an anti-malaria drug, accidentally created a synthetic alternative to the traditional Tyrian dye, which used around 12,000 molluscs from the Mediterranean Sea to dye the trim of just one garment. Thus, purple became a household hue. 

Since then, purple has cropped up on red carpets and runways throughout the decades. Diana, Princess of Wales was an avid fan, donning the shade at numerous events and functions. Most memorable was her Versace dress at a gala dinner at Chicago’s Field Museum in 1996, which she paired with her eleven-strand pearl choker. But until now, love for the shade has never been so strong, or so vivid.

Diana, Princess of Wales wearing Versace, 1996

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It started in late September. The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out at Ulster University in Northern Ireland wearing a bold purple suit from British designer Emilia Wickstead. Paired with a quilted purse from Jaeger, roll neck and navy suede courts, she effortlessly embodied plum perfection and called for a revival of vivacious violet.

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing Emilia Wickstead, 2021

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From actual royalty to pop royalty, the next sighting was on fashion enigma Lady Gaga. Attending the UK premiere of House of Gucci, which sees the songstress portray Patrizia Reggiana, the infamous Italian socialite who conspired to murder her ex-husband Maurizio Gucci, Gaga donned a purple ensemble. It was a flowing silk gown straight off the runway of the Love Parade collection, having taken place just 6 days prior in Los Angeles. Fashion and music fans rejoiced as she flailed the silk floor-length sleeves in the air to an adoring crowd. The obligatory ‘Yass Gaga!’s from her most die-hard followers filled the air, as well as the comment sections on Instagram.

Lady Gaga wearing Gucci, 2021

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Violet influence transpired across the seas the next day when former Tatler cover star and screen siren Anya Taylor-Joy attended the CFDA awards. The retro style ingenue donned an Oscar de la Renta dress with punchy peplum skirt accessorised with leopard print gloves and a beret, creating a look that screamed Joan Collins in Dynasty. This vintage-inspired ensemble was a big hit for the young starlet, who recently scored a Dior ambassadorship for both fashion and beauty.

Anya Taylor-Joy wearing Oscar de la Renta, 2021

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As party season fast approaches, let these style pillars of purple persuade you. The days of fuschia have officially passed, make way for marvellous mauves, victorious violets and inspiring indigos.

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