For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Dior. Growing up in the ’90s and 2000s, there are a multitude of reasons why: Carrie Bradshaw’s newspaper dress on Sex and the City, Mariah Carey famously skiing in a pink logo-print puffer, Megan Fox wearing a vintage J’Adore Dior T-shirt in Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, the list goes on. But perhaps most importantly, the image seared into my memory is of Princess Diana carrying the Lady Dior bag. (In case you didn’t already know, the iconic accessory was first seen on the late princess’ arm at a Paul Cézanne exhibition opening in Paris back in September 1995, after being gifted to her by former first lady of France Bernadette Chirac.)
Though it hasn’t been mentioned explicitly, binge-watching The Crown season 6 part 1 has renewed my interest in the Lady Dior—particularly ahead of the holiday season (nudge-nudge, wink-wink whoever is reading this). As the story goes, after Diana attended the Dior-sponsored art event with the unreleased bag, the house named it “Lady Dior” as a tribute to the princess. And she must’ve been honored, because she carried the bag everywhere, including to the 1996 Met Gala. She even requested a navy blue colorway to match her eyes, according to records held by the brand. That, my friends, is commitment. Fast-forward 28 years later, the design remains one of Hollywood’s most beloved accessories, endorsed by celebrities from Blake Lively to Rihanna and Marion Cotillard.
So, what is it about the Lady Dior? Apart from the lore surrounding the style and its enduring It bag status, the structured silhouette remains timeless, even when reimagined by Maria Grazia Chiuri in a new slew of colors, sizes, and materials for recent collections (think: studs, wicker, and sequin embroidery, if that’s your thing). For me, it will always be Diana’s original version in black lambskin with Cannage stitching and charms that spell out “DIOR” (a nod to the ones that Monsieur Dior actually carried around with him). After all, if the current nostalgia for my favorite childhood trends has taught me anything, it’s to not mess with a classic.
Claire Stern is the Digital Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was Deputy Editor of ELLE.com. Her interests include fashion, food, travel, music, Peloton, and The Hills—not necessarily in that order. She used to have a Harriet the Spy notebook and isn’t ashamed to admit it.