Remembering the Duchess of Alba, a Pioneer of Bold Royal Style

The Duchess of Alba passed away today at the age of 88. As the head of one of Spain’s oldest aristocratic family, the duchess, known to friends and family as Cayetana, held a Guinness record for being the most titled person, according to Yahoo. Along with the palaces and priceless artwork came a fierce sense of fashion that comes through in any retro photograph you look at. It was noted by the fashion crowd too, with a long-standing spot on Vanity Fair‘s best-dressed list.

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For an official parade to celebrate the painter Goya in 1962, she picked an elaborate riding habit that mixed wide leather chaps, a tasseled velvet jacket, and a jaunty cap.

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This snap makes it clear that she wasn’t a duchess who felt an obligation to dress in simple, stately suits. Instead, this black-and-gold number screams disco queen.

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For casual moments, she was comfortable dressing down, a fresh approach for the aristocracy and one that we see now in Princesses Mary and Victoria’s easy, every-girl outfit choices.

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In 1947, as Duchess of Montoro before adopting her final title, she was the picture of royal glamour. This shot, in a voluminous ball gown and tiara, remind me of the ones we saw from the time period when Princess Margaret was enjoying her relationship with Christian Dior.

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