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Bet You Don’t Know the Story Behind Princess Diana and This Dior Bag

Princess Diana on an official visit in Argentina in 1995. Photo: Getty Images

Princess Diana was the first to adopt it. In 1995, the Lady Dior bag was born, almost immediately writing itself in the history of fashion. We’re taking a closer look at the legacy of the iconic bag, from its first appearance to the modern day.

Decades after its conception, the Lady Dior bag remains one of Dior’s perennial designs, making its first appearance in 1995. A signature piece of the French fashion house and a knowing nod to its founding couturier, it was after being worn by Princess Diana that the bag gained the momentum that would pull it through the decades, forging its place in the fashion scene today.

Lady Dior Bag, Ready-to-Wear Fall/Winter 2009. Courtesy of Dior

It was 24 years ago the iconic bag appeared on the arm of Princess Diana in Paris. In her honor, it was baptized the Lady Dior bag, a symbolic gift offered by the first lady of France during the opening of a Cézanne exhibition.

In a string of subsequent appearances, the princess was faithful to the Dior design. On an official visit to Liverpool in 1995, she paired the bag with a Versace orange tailored ensemble, and for the 1996 MET Gala, with a midnight blue slip dress.

A model in a Dior Fall/Winter 1948-1949 dress surrounded by Napoleon III’s chairs. Photo: Association Willy Maywald_ADAGP

A testament to the exceptional savoir-faire at the Dior ateliers, the Lady Dior bag is a continuation of Christian Dior’s legacy, each element meticulously crafted, keeping in tune with the house’s heritage. The metallic charms that fall from the strap are inspired by the lucky charms that he so loved, and its signature quilting is a nod to Napoleon III’s chairs on which guests at the Dior runway shows would sit: a thread of history runs through each of the couturier’s collections.

The Dior Fall/Winter 1961-1962 collection, inspired by the signature Dior quilting. Courtesy of Dior

Forever maintaining artistic ties, the Lady Dior bag is currently the focus of two creative projects. Firstly, the touring exhibition Lady Dior As Seen By, and secondly the Dior Lady Art project, piloted by Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director of Dior, tasking a group of artists with reinterpreting the house’s essence through the re-imagination of the legendary bag.

At the Dior ateliers in Florence, the Lady Dior bag’s legacy has stood the test of time – 24 years to be precise. Given new life in Spring/Summer 2019, in both patterned and classic versions, the bag crafted from 144 pieces remains Dior’s symbol of timeless elegance.

Originally published on Vogue France and translated by Ashe de Sousa

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