One of the most anticipated biopic films of the year, Spencer, hit theatres across the world earlier this month. Kristen Stewart’s performance of Diana, Princess of Wales, left viewers in awe. Yet, the main focus wasn’t only on her acting as the famous figure, but also on the iconic outfits reproduced in the film.
Award-winning costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, wanted to stay true to the late Princess’ style. She drew on specific looks from a vast library of paparazzi imagery – showing exactly what Diana wore in her day-to-day life. Although the film only follows the Princess over the course of one weekend, the outfits are front and centre.
So, how accurate did they get it? Fulton Umbrellas, the largest supplier of quality designer umbrellas to the Royal Family, has analysed Princess Diana’s depiction in the film – comparing the most stunning outfits worn in her lifetime.
A visit to Portsmouth: 1981
After selecting the diamond to match her eyes, the film gives a nod to Diana’s famous engagement ring from Prince Charles. A ring which would later be passed on to Kate Middleton after Diana’s eldest son, Prince William, proposed.
During her trip to Portsmouth in 1981, the ‘People’s Princess’ donned a tartan blazer with oversized shoulder pads, a cream roll-neck top, and oversized pearl earrings. Representing her desire to be seen, Stewart’s outfit in Spencer is almost a complete replica, showcasing an exciting new chapter in Diana’s life.
THAT wedding dress: 1981
An iconic garment in royal wedding history, the Princess’ ivory silk and lace dress set a brand-new fashion trend – large, puffed sleeves.
Designed by a husband-and-wife team, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the costume portrayed in Spencer was made to match every fine detail of the original. From 10,000 mother-of-pearl sequins to a 25-foot-long train, the fairy-tale gown is truly unforgettable.
Research from 2019 suggests that the iconic dress now has an estimated value of around £151,000. It is currently on display at Kensington Palace, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children.
The school run: 1992
Tapping into Princess Diana’s more casual attire, the movie encapsulated her everyday routine. This includes the laid-back attire she sported for school drop-offs of Prince William and Prince Harry.
Lady Di was always one for keeping up with the latest fashion trends, so it’s no doubt that this sporty, colour-block red bomber jacket paired with straight-leg jeans was a statement to her stylish past. Some may say it also foreshadowed her future decision to give up the royal title.
This one look alone saw bomber jackets increase in popularity in the early 90s, becoming a casual style staple for many. You could also say there has been a resurgence of this trend in more recent years too.
Christmas Day: 1993
Spencer covers Diana’s trip to Sandringham for Christmas in 1991 and this outfit is a clear interpretation of the Princess’ iconic Christmas look from 1993.
Dressed in a vibrant red coat, roll neck, and black hat with a veil, this outfit was used for the Royal Family’s visit to St. Mary Magdalene, where they attended the Christmas morning service at the country church.
Compared to the original look, Spencer added a black pussy-bow neck-tie. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, this was seen as a symbol of feminism, marking the beginning of the power suit era.
Was it a cry for help or a statement of power? Many suggest wearing red gives the impression of wanting attention, so this outfit may have predicted the return of Princess Diana’s confidence.
And finally…the pearls
It goes without saying that Princess Diana was a huge fan of pearls, and they feature prominently in a rather unusual scene in Spencer.
Diana is shown eating, or at least imagining herself eating, the necklace of pearls given to her as a gift from Prince Charles at a tense holiday dinner with the Royal Family.
However, this was not a complete replica of Diana’s original look. The pearls in Spencer seem to have been made bigger for dramatic effect.
A recent interview with Kristen Stewart revealed she spent hours researching Diana in order to symbolise the Princess’ subconscious and imaginative fantasies.
Overall, many of the outfits portrayed in Spencer were incredibly accurate, but some additions were made to ramp up the drama. The personality traits of Diana also played a huge role in these choices and gave the movie a hand to hold in the interpretation of one of the most iconic names in history.