Dior’s Crown Jewel
The Lady Dior is fit for a queen…or at least a princess.
Designed by Gianfranco Ferré in 1994, Dior’s flagship bag was originally called the Chouchou – borrowed from a French idiom, which translates to best in class or favorite. After France’s then-First Lady Bernadette Chirac gifted the bag to Princess Diana the following year, she was pictured carrying it on all of her royal engagements…and, not just the one given to her in Paris, but all its available variations. Making it her go-to grab bag, the Chouchou was featured along with Princess Diana on the cover of every major news publication. A photograph of her gripping it, while embracing a young boy at a children’s home in Birmingham, even became an unofficial Dior advertisement; with Princess Diana as the bag’s unsigned model, sales soared. The elegant, sophisticated style of the bag perfectly mirrored Princess Diana’s fashion sense and personality traits, which other women sought to emulate. As she was affectionately referred to as Lady Di throughout her engagement to Prince Charles, the brand fittingly renamed it the Lady Dior, in homage to her, in 1996.
Like its namesake, the Lady Dior’s look is famed. It is made completely by hand, taking seven craftsmen around eight hours. To start, 130 pieces of lambskin leather are cut, sanded, and dyed. They are then sewn together in a cannage quilt, inspired by the NapoléonIII rattan chairs at Christian Dior’s first fashion show in 1947, to form cushioned diamonds. Once the pieces have been assembled around wooden molds and the bag has taken its structured shape, hybrid cone-dome feet – formed from around 43 pieces of metal! – are attached to its bottom in order to protect it for years to come. As a finishing touch, each Lady Dior is adorned with D.I.O.R charms that have been galvanized, like the rest of the bag’s hardware, to ensure a long-lasting luster. The final result: a piece of haute couture artistry fit for a princess.
Want to channel Lady Di’s signature look? All you need is her favorite accessory. Head to a Dior boutique, the only place the Lady Dior is sold, to purchase one of its latest styles – now available in four sizes and with a shoulder strap, block letter charms, and embellishments galore. Not exactly on the royal budget? Then, shop vintage! The Lady Dior has evolved over the years, but still dons all the classic elements seen on the bags toted around by Princess Diana. Either way, go ahead and give yourself the royal treatment you deserve.
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