A kind of refined beauty, made up of draped pearls, mod suits, and tiered frill, formed what we know to be Princess Diana’s bespoke wardrobe through the 80s, while a modern elegance juxtaposed with a bit of casuality took hold of her 90s apparel. In general, the icon, famed for her charitable actions and discernible humility, inadvertently left a lasting impression as the archetype for understated luxury, and Elizabeth Debicki’s renewed role as the “people’s princess” in season six of the Netflix special The Crown, captures that very sentiment.
Back with the first four of the final episodes, The Crown has offered a fictionalised behind-the-scenes take on the royal family’s history from Queen Elizabeth assuming the throne in season one all the way up to Princess Diana’s devastating death in season six. And though the actors’ portrayals of each figure are meant to leave stylised impressions of their personalities, their costumes have left viewers with an all-too-realistic picture.
Amy Roberts and Sidonie Roberts, the show’s wardrobe designer duo, have worked to fit each actor in garments representative of emblem outfits seen on the royals over the years – Debicki’s assumption of Diana being markedly authentic.
The Roberts pair did not fault in the first half of season six, which released on 16 November, dressing Debicki in identical replicas of Diana’s ensembles in the summer of 1997.
In the first episode, Diana is pictured on holiday in St Tropez. The Catherine Walker red dress seen on the actual royal on that very same trip is extremely similar to the one seen on Debicki. Between the high, square neckline – very depictive of 90s style – and the double, gold buckle waist belt, Debicki’s costume is almost an exact match for the Walker original, with the exception of the fabric shade. Diana’s was a more of a coral red with a hint of orange to make the hue a less potent ruby. However, in the show, the sophisticated shift garment is pinker. But the massive gold clip-on earrings worn by Debicki look exactly like the real ones.
Because the season majorily recounts Diana’s time in the Mediterranean with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed, just before her untimely death, Amy and Sidonie were tasked with dressing Debicki in the many one-piece swimsuits Diana wore that summer.
“There were lots of swimsuits on Diana this year,” Sidonie told Harper’s Bazaar ahead of the release. “She’s wearing them for four episodes – in fact, the majority of her outfits on her rail for this season were swimsuits.”
Diana’s actual leopard print halter-neck, made by Gottex Swimwear, was re-released by the company, therefore allowing the show’s costume to be the exact style and design seen on her. But of Diana’s more illustrious waterproof wear, was her low-back light blue suit worn on Fayed’s yacht. Not only did Debicki favour this particular one-piece out of all her wardrobe changes throughout season six, but the designer pair were especially determined to do the bodysuit justice – which they did.
“That blue swimsuit is so iconic,” Sidonie remarked. “That image of her, what we call ‘walking the plank’ and sitting at the end there, it’s so iconic that I think for an actor when they’re in that, it makes them feel completely in their character.”
Each swimsuit seen on Debicki in season six came from Gottex as Diana donned the brand repeatedly.
On shooting in the shimmery, aqua-coloured piece, Debicki noted: “There was just something about that swimsuit and recreating that moment that felt very sacred and important, and it was very important we got it right.”
“It’s as close as possible to the real imagery and yet what I get to do as an actress, kind of enter into that space, which all the things around it feel so accurate, and then I get to discover what’s emotionally in that moment,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.
The first four episodes of The Crown season six are now available to watch on Netflix.