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Viscountess Chelsea follows in Princess Diana’s footsteps on a pilgrimage to Paris. Her

Viscountess Chelsea arrives in Paris to follow in Princess Diana footsteps, with the help of Dior

The sixth season of The Crown finally dropped and the world was immediately in awe of Elisabeth Debicki’s depiction of Lady Diana’s signature, intrinsically familiar style. The key accessory when conveying the late effervescent Princess of Wales? Well, the Lady Dior bag – or widely known as the ‘Lady Diana bag’.

In September 1995, Lady Diana, Princess of Wales – visited Paris for the opening of the Paul Cézanne retrospective at the Grand Palais – and was offered a Dior bag to wear on her various excursions across the city. Previously named the ‘Chouchou’ (since it was religiously worn by the First Lady of France at the time, Madame Bernadette Chirac) is was seen on the arm of the princess during her trip to Paris, and then later, on multiple occasions across the world. Dior recognised the Princess of Wales as an world class ambassador and the bag’s name was set: it was to be called ‘Lady Dior’.

Diana, Princess of Wales with her signature Lady Dior bag to hand

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The timing was apt: as Diana, photographed in monochrome by David Bailey, appeared on the cover of Tatler’s January issue I ventured to Paris to celebrate the Lady Dior bag and to mark the opening of Dior’s new exhibition at La Galerie Dior (a stone’s throw from the dazzling boutique on Avenue Montaigne). With a row of twinkling lights illuminating Avenue Montaigne and La Plaza Athénée, we met for dinner at Le Voltaire, the elegant wood-panelled Parisian restaurant on the 7th Arrondissement. Dressed head-to-toe in Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2023 collection; we feasted on truffle scallops, cocktails and lashings of steak frites – where Lady Dior bags filled the table as much as the serving plates (a truly fashionable dinner).

Davina Chelsea wearing Dior’s Autumn/Winter 2023 collection

Waking up on a crisp December morning, we set off to La Galerie Dior for a private tour. Greeted by the multicoloured staircase showcasing thousands of miniature Lady Dior bags, tulle gowns, slingback pumps and the brand’s infamous Bar Jacket really set the scene for the entrancing exhibition inside. Wandering from room to room, you are taken through the house’s historical journey – beginning with the background of Christian Dior himself, followed by a showcase of breathtaking pieces by creative directors from past to present, including Yves Saint Laurent, John Galliano, Raf Simmons and Maria Grazia Chirui.

Exquisite rooms filled with intricate gowns set to the whirl of glistening lights, a dedicated Gold Room (an ode to the memorable J’Adore: The Future is Gold advertisement of 2013 featuring glamazon Charlize Theron) and the latest addition to the museum’s indelible experience, showcasing Dior’s collaborations with women artists throughout the years. Emblematic female personalities including photographer Lillian Bassman, French designer Constance Guisset and Japanese artist Yuriko Takagi fill the space, offering a poetic journey.

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