The Crown vs. Fashion

Emily Backlund, Arts & Entertainment

With the recent release of The Crown’s fourth season, which introduces Princess Diana’s time in the royal family, the show has gotten many more viewers. This show is about what goes on within the royal family outside of the public eye since Queen Elizabeth’s time on the throne; the show takes place from the late 1940s through so far the 1980s, with future seasons still coming. With the show introducing Princess Diana, who had one of the biggest fashion influences of the 80s and 90s, it was very important for the show to get her fashion right. Clothing in a series can have a huge impact on the story line, from the way the audience first sees the character compared to last time they do. The Crown moreso uses a re-creation of real outfits that Diana wore, matching up the story plot and events by using her real outfits as inspiration for her character. 

The second time we see Diana in the show she is wearing a youthful, pastel yellow colored pair of overalls, which was a re-creation of a real outfit she wore at a polo match in Windsor Great Park. In the show, her clothing gives us an atmospheric feel as to why Prince Charles asked Diana to marry him based on her looks alone. During the 80s, there was a look called Sloane Ranger, which is named after Sloane Square located in Chelsea, London; the look contains a preppy or sophisticated style of clothing which the upper middle class would wear. There was even a book written in 1982 called The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook which focused on Princess Diana. The outfits the show uses are very similar to those looks in the book, which included her wearing pearl studs, a cashmere sweater, Laura Ashley springy cotton skirt, black leather belt, Bally low-heeled black patent pumps, and more. 

In a scene in episode 3 where she embarasses herself with not knowing the proper etiquette when greeting the royal family, she is seen wearing a puff sleeve blue and white party dress. The dress looks out of place and almost childish compared to the other dresses in the scene worn by other members of the royal family, so it emphasizes her awkwardness and her being new to the royal family. 

What many think is the most important scene in this season when it comes to fashion is the wedding, even though the show didn’t show the actual wedding ceremony and only showed scenes of the time before the wedding began. The wedding dress is barely shown with different close up clips of it, but at the end of episode 3, you have a clear, full shot of the back of the wedding dress, showing its iconic train. Costume designer Amy Roberts says the dress took a total of 14 weeks to make with 4 to 5 fittings. Roberts focused on two things when creating the dress: the big, puffy sleeves and the long train, because that’s what most people first think of when imaging the dress. The show talked with the original designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel and they used the original lace that was made in Nottingham to edge the dress and the train. The costume designers even used the same company when replicating it. Princess Diana’s dress set a huge fashion trend throughout the 80s of big puffy sleeves on wedding dresses and regular party dresses.