Costume designers for The Crown season 5 have done an excellent job recreating Diana’s enduring 90s style, says NIKI CHARALAMBOUS
Diana fans have this week been given another dose of the royal’s most famous outfits as Elizabeth Debicki plays the part of the people’s princess in the fifth and penultimate season of Netflix’s The Crown.
While the fourth season featured Diana in pastels, colourful prints and puffy sleeves to echo her innocence as a shy 80s teenager quickly transformed into a princess, the outfits created by The Crown’s Emmy-winning costume designer Amy Roberts in the new season reflect a sleeker style befitting the 1990s: slim turtlenecks, smartly tailored jackets and high-waisted jeans.
Characterisation and storytelling are two of costume design’s key goals, abd The Crown most certainly excels at this. In a beautiful and effective way, costume designer Roberts has managed to enhance Peter Morgan’s writing. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing and largely historically accurate, the costumes in the show also provide information about the characters.
With 95 metres of cloth and 100 metres of lace, Diana’s iconic, larger-than-life wedding dress is one of the show’s many memorable costumes, all of which are superbly executed with a noticeable on-screen impact.
Diana’s choice of clothing saw her stand out from the rest of the royal family, and this is a recurring feature in The Crown’s costumes. She distinguishes herself from other royal family members and from their traditional ideals by dressing in hues, patterns and silhouettes that are very different to those of other members of the family.
The fifth season starts in the early 1990s with the dissolution of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s marriage, one of the most well-documented periods in Windsor history. Diana’s attire illustrates the tumultuous period surrounding the divorce, which is a major theme in this season of The Crown.
Princess Diana wore a Bardot-sleeved, asymmetrical-hem little black dress by Greek designer Christina Stambolian in 1994 on the same night Prince Charles finally admitted cheating during their marriage. With Stambolian’s permission, costume designer Amy Roberts recreated the dress for The Crown.
The dress is still a pop culture phenomenon; 28 years after Diana wore it, it has a dedicated Wikipedia page, admiring internet tributes and knockoffs, while it led to a subsequent movement of ‘revenge dressing.’ The outfit was so well-liked, according to actress Debicki, that as soon as she was cast as Diana, her friends were eager to know if she would get to re-enact the ‘revenge dress’ moment.
In addition to feeling “extremely significant and quite strong,” Debicki noted that wearing the outfit “provoked something in me as an actress.”
“I am not sure how to express it. It is amazing that an item of clothing could capture a certain historical moment or that a person’s life could have such immense significance and become so legendary,” she said in an interview.
Another well-known outfit is Diana’s halter neck blue mini dress, which she wore in 1995 to a Serpentine Gallery fundraiser in Hyde Park. However, for The Crown season five, the look is worn when the Princess of Wales attends the English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in 1997, which was one of her final public appearances.
Diana wore a red and black coat dress by Catherine Walker to a formal event in Birmingham in 1984. A few years later, Diana’s daughter-in-law, Kate Middleton has repeatedly re-created the outfit with Alexander McQueen, her long-time favourite label.
Replicating the now-famous leopard-print swimsuit by Jantzen worn by Princess Diana on a Mediterranean holiday with Dodi Al Fayed in 1997, just weeks before her untimely death, Debicki perfected the look right down to the oval sunglasses.
Diana’s floral dress designed by Bellville Sassoon was worn by the princess when she joined Prince Charles for the Seville Expo ’92, the Universal Exposition in Spain that took place in May 1992. A similar outfit was recreated for a scene in the latest season of The Crown.
Like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn, Raquel Welch and Sophia Loren before her, Princess Diana has become a fashion style icon whose translucent blue eyes and loud, attention-grabbing attire is frequently looked upon for inspiration, and The Crown has done an excellent job of capturing it.