The next instalment of The Crown is upon us, with a recent trailer teasing a snippet of the series’ fourth season, which will air globally on Netflix on November 15th. In what is arguably the most anticipated chapter of the saga, this season will cover the beginning of the Charles and Diana years—considered by many to be the most interesting scandal in modern royal history. It’s true that the most tantalising aspect of the trailer was the glimpse it offered of newcomer Emma Corrin in the role of Princess Diana—including a silhouette shot of Corrin in Diana’s iconic ’80s wedding dress.
Fashion has always been its own character in The Crown, be it the strapless chiffon gowns Vanessa Kirby’s Princess Margaret wore in the first two seasons, or the prim, sensible skirt suits Olivia Colman’s middle-ageing Elizabeth donned during season three. The creators are, naturally, drawing on a wealth of real-life references—but never has there been more pressure on the costume department than there is for season four.
Princess Diana remains one of—if not the—most iconic style icons of the 20th century. As a woman who was largely ingested by the public through photographs, and who rarely spoke in public during her first decade as Princess, fashion was often her most effective medium of communication. Her style developed and became more sophisticated over time, and it often conveyed coded messages to her legions of global fans.
The ‘black sheep’ jumper, for example (which was homaged by Harry Styles last November) was an unequivocal public statement that she considered herself the odd one out in the repressive royal household. Legend has it that it that after her divorce, Diana refused to wear anything by Chanel, as the interlocking ‘Cs’ of the brands logo upset her (the Prince famously had a long-term affair with Camilla Parker Bowles while the pair were married).
And lest we forget the iconic Christina Stambolian ‘revenge dress’ she wore to the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party in 1991, her first public outing following the finalisation of her divorce. The dress—black, low-cut, high leg-slit—was seen as a symbolic cutting of ties from the rigidity of her old life. From that moment onwards, the newly liberated Princess went from strength to sartorial strength.
Though littered with questionable moments, the early ’80s style that The Crown will capture was still captivating, particularly the ‘off-duty’ outfits, which precluded our current obsession with normcore. Trackpants tucked into cowboy boots, so-bad-they’re-good knits, ’80s blue denim—we are waiting with bated breath to see it all.