Lady Diana’s favourite bag and the story behind it

A style icon of her time, Princess Diana was known for her elegant fashion choices. Be it her coming out of the gym in bicycle shorts or the revenge dress, Lady Diana always made the headlines for her style selections. One accessory that she was often papped with was the Lady Dior tote. Today, most of us discern it as the most popular designer handbag or Princess Diana’s favourite, but the story behind it is lesser known. 

Lady Dior Tote
Editorial Credit: Only Dalya/Shutterstock.com

The Lady Dior tote was gifted to her

Bernadette Chirac, France’s First Lady, presented Lady Diana with Dior’s newest creation at the inauguration of the Cézanne exhibition at the Grand Palais in September 1995—a sophisticated black leather stitched handbag. The Princess of Wales instantly fell in love with the bag and ordered it in every iteration. 

Lady Diana Lady Dior Tote
Photo Courtesy: Getty Images via vogue.co.uk

How was the bag cleped Lady Dior?

The handbag was first introduced in 1994 with no official name and was not yet available for sale; it was only in possession of the world’s one per cent. Later, it was called the Chouchou, a term used to express endearment. In November 1995,  Princess Diana visited a children’s home in Birmingham and was photographed by the press with the bag, carrying a child in her arms. A couple of weeks later, on an official visit to Argentina, she appeared once more with her favourite bag exiting the plane. For the 1996 Met Gala, she wore the Lady Dior with a navy blue slip dress by then creative director of Dior, John Galliano. Diana especially fancied the quintessential black Lady Dior, as well as patent and croc versions in different sizes. Clearly, Lady Di fell in love with the bag and was spotted carrying it often. Eventually, the Chouchou bag evolved to be associated with her, and in 1996, as a homage to the Princess, it was renamed Lady Dior.

Lady Diana Lady Dior Tote
Photo Courtesy: Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Unparalleled craftsmanship packed in a bag

The Lady Dior is intrinsically linked to Dior’s savoir-faire and narrative. Its design emphasizes the exquisite artisanship on which Christian Dior founded his eponymous label back in 1946. Created by Dior’s then creative director, Gianfranco Ferré, the Lady Dior is completed by assembling 140 pieces. Since Ferré was originally trained as an architect, a lot of his designs were sculptured and detailed. The classic handbag in stitched padded leather exhibits the Maison’s codes—the stitching pattern, or cannage is influenced by the Napoléon III rattan chairs once used by Christian Dior to welcome his clients on the day of his first haute couture show in 1947. Lady Dior’s trademark finish is the dangling charms that act as the eternal signature, which is reminiscent of the lucky charms Christian Dior always carried as he was superstitious. 

Lady Dior Tote
Editorial Credit: fatlady/Shutterstock.com

Each bag is handmade by skilled artisans. All the 140 pieces are assembled and shaped around a wooden form and stitched together with intricacy. The leathers are manually cut, and the DIOR charms are also shaped by hand. The bag itself is timeless in its structure, with clean, architectural lines which are accentuated with charms. This bag carries forward the storied tale of the French Maison and remains an iconic symbol in the history of handbags.

A masterpiece that is loved till today

Ever popular and reinterpreted oft-times, the Parisian chic charm of Lady Dior is nonpareil. It is no surprise that the bag finds its course adorning the arms of so many fans, year after year! From limited editions and metallic renditions to exotic leathers and embellished styles, the Lady Dior has been revisited in just about every way possible. The style comes in five sizes—micro, mini, small, medium, and large.

Lady Dior Sizes

For Spring/Summer 2020, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented the Lady D-Lite, which was classified as a casual redux of the archetypal prototype. This one is crafted in embroidered canvas rather than leather and comes with a broad guitar-like strap for a sporty feel.Lady D-Lite Tote Bag

Projects by Dior to continue the legacy of the iconic handbag

Lady Dior has enjoyed an extraordinary destiny. With crisp lines elevating the cannage motif, it is a concentration of the label’s prowess. Years after, the design continues to build its timeless heritage at the crossroads of modernity and finesse, becoming a canvas of art and desire.

  • Dior Lady Art: Reinterpreted by a fresh crop of artists from around the globe, the style is transformed to add a nuanced layer with the artist’s innovation. The project was launched in 2016, wherein limited edition pieces are produced every year.
Lady Dior Art
Lady Dior Tote by Jack Pierson for Dior Lady Art
  • Lady Dior As Seen By: An online retrospective of works established on the timeless icon by a selection of contemporary creators. Lady Dior As Seen By enables you to embark on this fascinating modern odyssey—up close and personal.
Lady Dior As Seen By
‘Moving Bag’ by Oh You Kyeong. Editorial Credit: Songchai Photos/Shutterstock.com
Lady Dior bag
‘The Lady Has Arrived’ by Olympia Scarry. Editorial Credit: Songchai Photos/Shutterstock.com.
Lady Dior As Seen By
‘Mid-Summer Night Stroll’ by Liu Chih Hung. Editorial Credit: Songchai Photos/Shutterstock.com.
  • My ABCDior Customization: Buyers can make their Lady Dior personalised and unique with delightful badges honouring the brand’s essence with the exclusive My ABCDior.
Lady Dior Tote
Lady Dior Tote with personalised Lucky Charm badges.

Top Lady Dior picks from The Luxury Closet

Black Lady Dior Tote with Gold HardwareBlack Lady Dior with gold-tone hardware

Limited-Edition Lady DiorLimited-Edition Lady Dior with Flower Print

Lady Dior ToteMedium Lady Dior in Microcannage Leather

 Lady Dior with Lucky BadgesLady Dior with Lucky Badges

Lady Dior by Andy WarholLimited-Edition Pink Lady Dior by Andy Warhol

Lady Dior Tote in Tweed and LeatherLady Dior Tote in Tweed and Leather

With collectability, resale value, longevity, as well as the status of being a staple icon, the Lady Dior brings big business to the luxury resale market. It is seldom when a handbag lasts various seasons, let alone decades, but the Lady Dior bag has cemented its place as a forever favourite. 

The ever-so-stunning royal Lady Diana fell in love with the Dior bag, and so do we, again and again. There should be no second thoughts about buying the investment-worthy handbag. The Luxury Closet offers countless Lady Diors to match everybody’s style statement, so look nowhere else and head to our closet before these beauties sell out! Shop.

Also read: The Best Dior Handbags For Women To Invest In!

Rashi Hirawat

Fashion Content Writer


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