— -- Princess Diana was just 36 years old when she died 20 years ago this week, but she created an enduring fashion legacy during her time in the spotlight.
Diana grew from a 20-something in pastel colors on the arm of Prince Charles to an independent woman who made bold fashion choices until the day she died Aug. 31, 1997, in a car crash in Paris.
Diana’s most iconic fashion moments are currently on display at Kensington Palace in "Diana: Her Fashion Story,” an exhibit that showcases 25 dresses and outfits Diana wore from her early 20s until her death.
"Fashion is such a good medium to talk about the princess because although she didn’t like to be known as a clotheshorse, she intuitively understood the language of clothes," the exhibit's curator, Eleri Lynn, told ABC News earlier this year. "[Diana] really used it to help her do the job at hand as a princess, humanitarian and patron of the arts."
Lynn noted that Diana also adapted fashion to suit her high-profile role as a humanitarian whose frequent interactions with everyday people and the downtrodden affectionately earned her the moniker "the People's Princess."
"When she was visiting children’s hospitals, for example, she would wear bright cheerful colors so that the children would find her approachable," Lynn said of Diana. "She very rarely wore gloves because she liked to hold hands and she stopped wearing hats after a while because she said, ‘You can’t cuddle a child in a hat.’"
One dress included in the Kensington Palace display is a Victor Edelstein velvet dress that shows the tiny handprints of Diana's sons, Prince William, then 3, and Prince Harry, then 1, embedded in the fabric as if the young princes were clutching their mother for a hug.
Diana was also an ambassador for British fashion, particularly Catherine Walker, a French-born, London-based designer whose gowns featured in the Kensington Palace display include a floral scoop neck dress Diana wore to a Christie's auction in 1997; the black halter necklace sequined gown Diana donned at Versailles in 1994; and the blush pink suit Diana wore to a children's charity event at the Savoy Hotel in 1997.
It was also Walker who created the iconic white dress with a collared jacket that Diana dubbed her "Elvis dress." Diana first wore the dress to Hong Kong in 1989 and later paired it with her favorite tiara, the pearl and diamond Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.
"She had a sense of experimentation and fun with her fashion," said Lynn. "What you see in her style is that often she had a bit of a playful sense."
When Diana traveled abroad, she was known for fashion that paid homage to the host nation.
Lynn said of Diana's style on official royal trips, "She was also representing Britain so her clothing did represent the best of British fashion but also [sent] diplomatic messages when she went on international travels."
Diana's daughter-in-law, Princess Kate, the wife of William, has not been known to take daring fashion risks like her famous mother-in-law but is slowly introducing more daring jewelry, like Diana, and has, on occasion, made a nod to Diana's look.
Last month, Kate, 35, and her children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2, wore the colors of their host nations' flags when they arrived in Poland and Germany. Kate's dress in Germany, a cornflower blue coat dress, was designed by Catherine Walker, whom Kate, like Diana, has relied on for some of her most important engagements.
When Kate brought George home from the hospital in 2013, she chose a polka dot dress by Jenny Packham that bore a resemblance to the Catherine Walker polka dot dress Diana wore to bring William home from the hospital in 1982.
Diana's beloved Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth, was first worn by Kate in November 2015 when she attended a reception at Buckingham Palace. Kate wore it again in 2016 and, most recently, in July at a state banquet for King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain at Buckingham Palace. Kate paired the tiara at the state banquet with glamorous pearl drop earrings that appeared to be the same ones worn by Diana on many occasions.
Kate has also started accessorizing her outfits with some of Diana's dazzling jewels in addition to Diana's engagement ring, which William presented to Kate in 2010.
Kate selected a triple-strand pearl and diamond bracelet often seen worn by Diana to wear during her family's diplomatic tour of Germany in July.
Kate has also worn Diana's favorite sapphire earrings -- a single Saudi Arabian sapphire surrounded by 10 diamonds -- that coordinate with her engagement ring.
The earrings, bequeathed to William and Harry in Diana's will, were a gift from William to Kate shortly after their engagement in 2010. Kate has added her own style to the famous jewels by adapting them to a drop-style earring.
Kate has not yet publicly worn Diana's most iconic piece of jewelry, a seven-strand pearl choker surrounding a large diamond-encrusted sapphire.
The sapphire brooch was a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother that Diana transformed into the pearl choker that became one of her most iconic jewels.