Diana's fashion featured in The Crown is here to stay
It’s already a star of The Crown’s sixth and final series. But there’s nothing final about Princess Diana’s post-divorce fashion style – which is here to stay, writes ALICE HARE
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The Crown is back for its sixth and final series. And with it, an avalanche of interest in Princess Diana’s wardrobe. Season six begins in the summer of 1997 – Diana’s last, fateful summer.
Gone are the piecrust collars and Laura Ashley florals of series four.
Now, The Crown’s costume designers Amy Roberts and Sidonie Roberts (no relation) lean into the Princess’s post-divorce power wardrobe.
And they nail it. Every. Single. Time.
Read on to discover the once-small brands whose stories Diana transformed, and who, more than 25 years after her death, are enjoying a resurgence – all thanks to the The Crown.
Sloppy Joe Sweatshirts
Princess Diana in her iconic Sloppy Joe sweatshirt at the Chelsea Harbour Club, 1997
Sloppy Joe has reintroduced classic crew neck, now on sale for £70.95
Established in 1993 by fashion buyer and designer Jackie Harris, the brand was immortalised when Diana was photographed several times in the ‘90s leaving her beloved Chelsea Harbour Club wearing their sweatshirts.
In response to the renewed interest in Diana’s style in part provoked by The Crown, the brand reintroduced in April 2022 the quarter-zip design worn by the Princess to resounding success (£76.95, sloppyjoe.co.uk).
Their classic crew neck (£70.95, sloppyjoe.co.uk) is available in a huge array of shades completely bespoke to the brand, including the blue tone favoured by Diana and now renamed ‘Diana blue’.
How to wear it? The key is to counteract the sloppiness of the Sloppy Joe with huge sunglasses, an equally huge designer bag (a Ferragamo will do nicely, à la Diana), and an even-more-huge sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Natch.
Warm & Wonderful
Princess Diana wearing her Warm & Wonderful ‘black sheep’ jumper in 1980
Princess Diana giving her ‘Black Sheep’ a different look with a shoe lace tie and collar over the top
The Warm & Wonderful Diana Edition jumper available (preorder) £270
That sheep jumper was born in 1979 and first sold from a market stall in Covent Garden by brand co-founders Joanna Muir and Sally Osborne.
Now, the V&A has one in their permanent collection. Quite the 360. A huge contributor to this success? Diana wore the sheep jumper in 1981 and 1983, followed by Andy Warhol and David Bowie soon after.
In 2020, Jack Carlson, the American designer and owner of cult brand Rowing Blazers, re-launched the sheep sweater in collaboration with Muir and Osborne, making it available to buy for the first time in twenty-five years. A shrewd move timing-wise: the fourth season of The Crown aired in November 2020, featuring Emma Corrin as a young Diana wearing said sheep sweater.
Demand boomed. Warm & Wonderful was subsequently re-established as a brand in its own right with Carlson as creative director. But the luck didn’t end there.
Diana in fact had two Warm & Wonderful sheep sweaters – one she wore in 1981, the other in 1983. She tore a hole in the cuff of her original, and the palace sent it to Warm & Wonderful, asking if it could be fixed or replaced.
They replaced it – hence why the black sheep is in a different position in Diana’s 1983 version. This March, Osborne rediscovered Diana’s original 1981 version while clearing out her attic.
It was sold at Sotheby’s New York for $1.14 million in September. From market stall to millions, this is the stuff of fashion fairy tale.
Princess Diana wearing her animal print swimwear in St Tropez in 1997
Princess Diana laughing and joking in her Gottex bathing suit in 1997
The Gottex ‘Diana’ halter neck is available for £199.99
‘The swimsuit is the new ballgown in this series’, says The Crown’s associate costume designer Sidonie Roberts. Particularly memorable is a scene in which Diana barters with paparazzi while on Dodi’s yacht in the south of France, telling them she will let them photograph her in her leopard-print swimsuit if they agree to leave her, William and Harry alone for the rest of the day.
Whether this exact exchange happened or not (it is well-known that Diana bartered thus with photographers), those images of Diana in the leopard-print swimsuit in the summer of 1997 were splashed over newspapers the world-over.
Diana’s was from Israeli brand Gottex, and the brand made a replica of the costume especially for Elizabeth Debicki to wear in series 6 of The Crown. And now, they’ve re-issued the swimsuit on their website for the masses (£155, gottexswim.com).
The brand was founded in 1956 by Lea Gottlieb, who designed for the brand until 1998. Gottlieb’s journey is undoubtedly the most rags-to-riches tale of all the small brands whose fates Diana turned around.
Raised in poverty by an aunt in her native Hungary, Gottlieb was Jewish. Her husband was shipped to a forced labour camp during the Second World War, while she spent the war in hiding with her two daughters.
Miraculously, they all survived. She and her husband founded a raincoat factory after the war; it was this expertise she used to make premium swimwear when she established Gottex.
Her idea was to make swimwear that wasn’t to be worn just by the pool, something shown in The Crown – we see Debicki wearing swimsuits tucked into shorts and sarongs.
By 1984, Gottex was the leading exporter of swimwear to the US with a fanbase including Queen Sofia of Spain, Elizabeth Taylor, Brooke Shields, and Nancy Kissinger. Phew. Oh, and someone called Princess Di.
Lady Diana Spencer with Sarah Ferguson at Cowdray Park just before her wedding in 1981
A famous image of Diana with her Souleaido bag over her shoulder
The ‘ADIANA’ blue quilted bag is available on the website for £139.00
Before her trophy bag days (hello, the Lady Diors and Gucci bamboo-handled delights Di favoured in the ‘90s), there was another.
A more modest younger cousin of the trophy bags, if you will. In true Sloane Ranger style, Diana picked up said cousin on the Fulham Road – in a shop called Souleaido, to be precise.
A French company, they specialised in quilted floral bags made in Provence. Diana bought six of their bags, including a rose-print one she wore on repeat in the early ‘80s.
Di’s ‘Printemps’ bag is still available to buy on their website for £156. A bargain when a Lady Dior would set you back £5,300.
Princess Diana at Alton Towers wearing her Philadelphia Eagles baseball jacket
Diana doing the school run and spread across the back is the emblem of the Philadelphia Eagles
Kylie Kelce, wife of a Philadelphia Eagles player, is seen modelling the jacket, which was priced at £320 in November 2023
The jacket worn by Kylie Kelce, wife of a Philadelphia Eagles player, is almost identical to the one Princess Diana wore
It is well-known that Diana craved normalcy. And her casual uniform of the late ‘80s and ‘90s reflects this desire.
The jeans and baseball caps, the trips to Disneyland with William and Harry, picking up her boys from Wetherby… all these were an attempt to ‘play at’ normalcy by a woman whose life was the total, polar, complete-and-utter opposite of normal.
In 1991, Diana was photographed on the school pick-up wearing a Philadelphia Eagles baseball jacket.
She wore it again on the cover of People magazine in 1994. This was a seemingly normal jacket with a less-than-normal story behind it. Diana met Philadelphia Eagles statistician Jack Edelstein at Grace Kelly’s funeral in 1982 – Kelly was a native of Philadelphia.
The pair started chatting, and the conversation ended with Edelstein promising to send Diana some Eagles t-shirts.
The owner of the Eagles, Leonard Hymas Tose, hearing of this, thought a custom jacket more fitting for a princess. Even today, pictures of Diana in the jacket are framed in bars across Philadelphia.
Last week, the Eagles made the jacket available to the public to purchase for the first time more than thirty years after Di first wore it.
Available from sports retailer Mitchell & Ness for £320, ‘our latest limited-edition release pays homage to an iconic era in Eagles and pop-culture history, capturing the essence of a royal moment in time’. Quite.
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