By Alexis Nedd
In addition to being a beloved public figure, Princess Diana was one of the most influential fashion icons of the late 20th century. Her iconic style was copied by women all around the world, and some of the dresses, gowns, and casual outfits she wore are among the most recognizable looks in fashion history. Actor Emma Corrin plays a young Diana in Season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown, and the costume department clearly paid close attention to real images of the princess to completely transform Corrin through the power of styling.
The first near-flawless recreation of one of Diana’s looks comes in Episode 2 “The Balmoral Test.” She wore this colorful Peruvian sweater in a photocall at Balmoral Castle in May 1981, after she and Charles were already engaged. The Crown has her in the sweater at Balmoral before the proposal.
The blue dress Diana wore in her announcement photos with Charles is also memorable, as it matched her stunning sapphire engagement ring. This costume even has the small, distinctive bird pattern on the shirt collar.
Diana’s wedding dress is so famous The Crown didn’t even have to show the front of it for people to remember what the rest looked like. That was and is…a lot of dress.
The Crown costume team must have had the most fun with Episode 6 “Terra Nullius,” which recreated Diana’s outfits from the Prince and Princess of Wales’ 1983 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Some of these are perfect copies, while others more suggest the dresses seen in these famous photos of the royal couple.
Starting with this white dress, which Diana wore at Ayers Rock.
The Crown toned down the colors of Diana’s polka dot green number here, but did not tone down the collar or shy away from recreating this exact moment with Charles and Prince William.
This dress isn’t an exact copy of anything Diana wore on the tour, but it appears to be based on this red and white outfit Diana wore in Brisbane, going by the hat situation.
Another tour outfit remade with a little extra razzle dazzle is this pink dress and hat combo, which was polka-dotted in real life and done with beading in The Crown.
Diana’s real yellow dress had a white belt and matching hat when she wore it in Queensland, but the spirit of the outfit appears in this episode as well.
The Crown even used outfits Diana wore for moments where her character wasn’t photographed, as seen when this exact light green dress appears in a scene where Charles and Diana do a radio interview.
Diana’s pink evening gown worn at the Crest Hotel for a state reception was actually quite different in real life, but The Crown designers did go through the trouble of duplicating the Spencer family tiara the princess wore at the event, as well as the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II (the yellow ribbon with the Queen’s portrait pinned to the dress). The Royal Family order is an honor given at the Queen’s discretion to female members of the family. Only seven living women (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge included) bear the order today.
Bonus picture of Kate with her Royal Family Order:
The final outfit recreation is the beautiful light blue dress and fascinator Diana wore to the Government House in Canberra.
The rest of the outfits Emma Corrin wears as Princess Diana in Season 4 of The Crown are either not based on real dresses (the purple gown worn in Episode 9 “Avalanche” is amazing, but no record of it appears) or donned in private.
Season 5 of The Crown starring Elizabeth Debicki as Diana…you’re up.