Years and years after her passing, the world still remembers the grace with which Princess Diana, who would’ve turned 58 today, faced intense media scrutiny – so much so that she even inspired Dior’s now-iconic ‘Lady Dior’ bag.
The original nameless design was gifted to the “People’s Princess” by First Lady of France Bernadette Chirac in 1995 and, whenever she carried it – which was often – the public clamored for their own version. Women everywhere wanted to snag a piece of her regal style, especially as the first iteration was so chic that it simultaneously launched public fervor and Princess Diana’s devotion. Its stitched-leather square pattern – which drew inspiration from the Napoleon III cannage chairs that Dior used in its first-ever fashion show in 1947 – echoed bygone savoir faire, while its sturdy structure and dangling charms spoke to an easeful, even playful, view on fashion.
Having survived as an icon and perpetual “It” bag for the past 24 years, the ‘Lady Dior’ bag has been subject to hundreds of creative variations, ensuring that the look stays fresh and current, even as the whims and fancies of the fashion industry evolve. Although Princess Diana’s original version was glossy black, the ‘Lady Dior’ has, at various times, been produced in delicate pastels with gilded charms, gleaming gold as if King Midas himself had touched it, matte textures in dove gray, and felted forest green. Dior also taps creative minds to render their own versions of the bag on the regular, which has opened up a field of imagination, transforming the bag from a fashion statement to an objet’ d’art.
In the gallery, above, you’ll see vivid interpretations of the bag whose form has been displaced by chunks bitten out of its Perspex surface by Olympia Scarry, a hand-painted piece by Friedrich Kunath, adorable furry versions by Daniel Gordon, and more. Whether she’s splattered in paint, covered in macrame, or decorated with dangling chains, the ‘Lady Dior’ bag never loses her sophisticated essence – just like the inspiration behind it.