Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997) attends a dinner at the British Embassy in Washington, DC, November 1985. She is wearing an evening dress by Murray Arbeid and the Queen Mary tiara. (Photo by Terry Fincher/Princess Diana Archive/Getty Images)

Princess Diana’s legacy is one of colossal proportions, and as of late, one creative after another has been lining up to attempt to capture her unending influence on the zeitgeist. With the recently released Pablo Larraín film Spencer, the previous and upcoming seasons of The Crown, the Broadway production of Diana: The Musical, the late Princess of Wales is clearly loved and admired just as much as she ever was. Through her personality, body language, mannerisms, signature blonde coif, blue eyeliner, and oft-referenced fashion moments, actresses from Naomi Watts, Emma Corrin, Elizabeth Debicki, and Kristen Stewart, have all done their best to accurately capture ‘The People’s Princess’ through their portrayals. Though there is much to be said of the late member of the British royal family, Lady Di’s definitive sartorial impact knows no bounds.

With big-budget films, limited series, and broadway musicals all making the effort to honestly tell the tale of the beloved, yet complicated princess, these costume departments have clearly understood the assignment. As if taking a page straight out of a history book, these costume designers have worked their tails off to recreate some of Princess Diana’s most iconic looks as well as some of her more obscure ensembles. From grandiose references such as the epic ‘revenge dress‘ down to the most minor wardrobe details, these stylists have found a way to accurately curate an authentic assemblage of clothing worthy of Lady Di. 

The Crown Season 4 (2020)

Lady Diana Spencer (later to become Princess of Wales) reveals her sapphire and diamond engagement ring while she and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose for photographs in the grounds of Buckingham Palace following the announcement of their engagement (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Credit: Instagram @thecrownnetflix

On Netflix hit series The Crown, season 4 introduces us to Emma Corrin as a young Diana Spencer. As her burgeoning romance with the heir apparent to the British royal thrown, Prince Charles grows into marriage and then children, we’re able to get a glimpse inside the tumultuous relationship whilst following historically accurate costuming, courtesy of The Crown’s Emmy-winning costume designer Amy Roberts. With Roberts at the helm, and Sidonie Roberts as assistant costume designer and head buyer for the series, the team tackled some of Diana’s most recognizable and well-known ensembles masterfully.  The cerulean blue suit donned by the princess for the photo-op to announce her engagement to Prince Charles is pristinely chosen, with every detail falling in line, from her blouse’s pussy bow to the tiny bird detailing. 

Diana Princess of Wales (1961 – 1997) in her wedding dress at Buckingham Palace, London, after her wedding, 29th July 1981. (Photo by Lichfield Archive via Getty Images).
The Crown S4. Picture shows: Princess Diana (EMMA CORRIN)

Obviously, another notable moment that has been breathed new life in the limited-series is Princess Diana’s opulent wedding gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. Mimicking the creations of Catherine Walker and Victor Edelstein, The Crown‘s costume department took an unimaginable and unsurmountable task and spun it into gold. Having taken a bit of artistic license with some of Corrin’s other costumes, the keen attention to detail gracing the most well-documented sartorial statements is massive feat to be admired.

Diana: The Musical (2021)

HONG KONG – NOVEMBER 10: Princess Of Wales In Hong Kong Wearing An Outfit Described As The Elvis Look Designed By Fashion Designer Catherine Walker. Tour Dates 7-10 November. (exact Day Date Not Certain) (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 02: Jeanna de Waal as “Princess Diana” during the first preview performance curtain call of “Diana: The Musical” on Broadway at The Longacre Theatre on November 2, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/WireImage)

While the recent Broadway production of Diana: A New Musical has been met with mixed reviews, the 39 historically accurate looks crafted by the award-winning costume designer, William Ivey Long are unquestionably spot-on. With Broadway newcomer Jeanna de Waal starring as Diana, the performer dons recreations of Lady Di’s pearl encrusted “Elvis look” by designer Catherine Walker, as well as a copy of Christina Stambolian’s iconic “Revenge dress.” Famously worn by Diana immediately following Prince Charles’ public admission of having had an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, the off-the-shoulder classic LBD even gets its own song entitled, “A Pretty Girl in a Pretty Dress.”

Spencer (2021)

UNITED KINGDOM – DECEMBER 25: PRINCESS DIANA AT SANDRINGHAM ON CHRISTMAS DAY, THE PRINCESS IS WEARING A RED COAT AND A BROAD-BRIMMED BLACK HAT, SHE IS CARRYING A BOUQUET OF FLOWERS (Photo by Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images)

 

Kristen Stewart in Spencer (Photo: Courtesy of Neon)

 

With Oscar buzz hovering all around the new film Spencer, Kristen Stewart’s embodiment of the late member of the monarchy is only heightened by her feathered hair and tailored costumery. Featuring a specific look from Christmas Day 1993, the red coat paired with a black pussy bow blouse and a black broad-brimmed veiled hat, the original ensemble was worn by Princess Diana at Sandringham after her split from Prince Charles in 1992. From the costume designer who brought us the beautiful period-piece confections of Anna Karenina, Pride & Prejudice, and 2019’s Little Women, Jacqueline Durran is bringing us equally beautiful creations for the Kristen Stewart-led Princess Diana biopic. The two-time Academy Award winning designer decided not to specifically reference any one look exactly, but attempt to capture the general style evoked by the fashion icon. Also referencing Spencer’s Catherine Walker tartan blazer she had adorned time and time again, Durran dove deep into her research, she took notes from Diana’s personal stylist Sally Hawkins but curated and ordered the  looks in such a way to further the story.

CHAMBORD, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 09: Diana, Princess of Wales, poses outside Chateau de Chambord during her official visit to France on November 9, 1988 in Chambord, France. (Photo by Georges De Keerle/Getty Images)
Kristen Stewart in Spencer
Kristen Stewart in Spencer (Photo: Courtesy of Neon)

The Crown Season 5 (2022)

Princess Diana (1961 – 1997) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)

As The Crown continues its valiant efforts for historic accuracy, the costume department has hit the nail on its head once again. While we haven’t seen too much of Elizabeth Debicki’s forthcoming portrayal of Diana in the series’ fifth season, photos recently emerged, showcasing one of the princess’ most iconic looks of all- the “Revenge dress.” As aforementioned, the Christina Stambolian creation was famously worn by Diana in 1994 immediately after Prince Charles publicly admitted to having had an affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. She donned the classically sexy off-the-shoulder classic LBD to the Kensington Gardens for a Serpentine Gallery fundraiser and it has been historically referenced ever since. Continuing to excellently execute Diana’s wardrobe, The Crown‘s  costume designers and their contemporaries having all proven to be in a league of their own.

thoughts?