By Prudence Wade, PA
With the first episode of the new season of The Crown premiering on November 9, all eyes are on Elizabeth Debicki to see how she’ll portray Diana, Princess of Wales.
From the trailer and stills promoting the show, the likeness is uncanny – and as always, the show has put a lot of work into replicating Diana’s iconic outfits to perfection.
Debicki, 32, is aware of the power of her character’s fashion, saying in a press conference: “What made Princess Diana so interesting [and] iconic with her fashion choices is that she brought the private into the public sphere, which was such a non-royal thing to do and so fascinating for people because it was very transgressive.”
Before diving into the new season of The Crown, here’s a look at how elements of Debicki’s fashion resemble Diana’s…
1. In a black dress with a sweetheart neckline
Debicki wore an elegant black dress from Dior’s recent couture collection to the premiere of The Crown series five – and it bears significance to one of Diana’s most famous outfits.
Caroline Young, author of FashionQuake and The Colour of Fashion, calls the dramatic Dior gown “incredibly impactful, as it can’t help but draw comparisons to Diana’s famous ‘revenge dress’, which features prominently in the new season”.
Diana wore an LBD in 1994 designed by Christina Stambolian, after the then-Prince Charles admitted being unfaithful during their marriage in a TV interview. It was a racier style than the public were used to seeing Diana in when she was performing royal duties – and has the same pared-back sexiness as Debicki’s premiere outfit.
“During this period of Diana’s life, she shook up traditions by wearing black, a colour that was frowned upon for royals to wear to Red Carpet events as it was reserved for mourning,” says Young. “And the ‘revenge dress’ was also shorter and more revealing than she would have been permitted before.”
2. In pale pink
The theme of the 2019 Met Gala was camp, and Debicki had this down to a tee in a whimsical pale pink number by Salvatore Ferragamo with a statement bow.
“While pink is considered a sweet, feminine colour, it’s also been reclaimed in recent years as a powerful symbol of womanhood,” says Young. “[The dress] reflects Debicki’s sense of elegance – she likes unusual, showstopping touches, such as the huge bow, but tends to veer towards classic elegance in her silhouette.
“In some ways that’s very reflective of Diana’s own sense of style, choosing simple silhouettes to complement her lean frame.”
You could pretty much sum up the fashion aesthetic of the Eighties as camp too, and Diana favoured some supremely playful outfits during that time – such as this similarly pale pink dress with voluminous sleeves and a bow to top everything off.
3. In florals
For the Vanity Fair Oscar after party in 2019, Debicki debuted an edgy take on florals in an Armani Prive form-fitting, sequinned, black and cream dress with red accents and an unusual print.
Diana loved a floral print too but her picks erred towards bright colours in Eighties styles. However, for this gown worn to a party at the British Embassy in Paris in 1988, she chose a darkier, moodier palette of red and black, making for a modern take on florals – and something closer to what Debicki might wear today.
4. In sparkles
You can’t go wrong with a bit of sparkle, and Debicki stunned in a simple black Armani Privé gown to the BAFTAs in 2019 – complete with a ruffle detailing at the hip and a thigh-high split.
While few of Diana’s outfits featured that much leg, you can see the similarities to one of her most memorable outfits: a black sparkly column-style gown she wore in 1988, designed by Jacques Azagury.
5. In pastels
Giving a modern take on the trench coat, Debicki wore a pale lilac style to the Burberry fashion show in 2017 – a departure from the dark colour scheme she tends to favour on the red carpet.
Whereas Diana’s wardrobe was all about colour, and she loved pastel hues. Just take her outfit to Prince William’s confirmation in 1997 – a pale blue Chanel suit designed by Karl Lagerfeld. It was a classic ensemble she loved so much, she wore it again to a British Lung Foundation later that year.