Lady Dior: An Icon

26/04/2019     Chiswick Curates, Handbags & Fashion


With everyone talking about the sell-out V&A exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams and ahead of our exciting Chiswick Lates with Connie Karol Burks, Assistant Curator of the landmark exhibition, we discuss the Lady Dior, the fashion house's most iconic bag ever…


 The story goes that in September 1995, Princess Diana was gifted the new Dior “Chouchou” bag by Bernadette Chirac, First Lady of France, at the Cezanne Art Exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. Diana loved it so much she ordered one in every available colour. It was regularly photographed on her arm and the name was later changed to Lady Dior in Diana’s honour. Within the first two years they had sold more than 200,000 Lady Dior’s, cementing its iconic status. Over the years there have been numerous women including Carla Bruni, Diane Kruger, Monica Bellucci, Marion Cottillard and Jennifer Lawrence who have represented and modernised it.

Dior famously said “Real luxury requires the best materials and the best craftsmanship”. This philosophy can be seen in the Lady Dior. The bag was originally designed by Gianfranco Ferre in 1994. The iconic Cannage motif is said to be taken from the Napoleon III chairs used by Dior in his first show in 1947. Each bag takes eight hours to make and seven skilled craftsmen. All 140 pieces of lambskin leather are hand stretched and stitched.


Lot 25. Christian Dior Limited Edition Black Crocodile Lady Dior MM. Estimate: £6,000-8,000

Lot 199. Christian Dior Limited Edition Coral Crocodile Lady Dior MM. Estimate: £4,000-6,000


Lot 5. Marc Quinn for Christian Dior ‘Fossil Record’ Lady Dior GM. Estimate: £1,200-1,800


Through the years, the Lady Dior has come in a variety of exotic skins including ostrich, lizard and crocodile (Lots 25 and 199), as well as limited edition pieces (Lot 5). In 2016, the artist Marc Quinn collaborated with Dior to mark the opening of their New Bond Street store. The collaboration was only available in the New Bond Street store and was limited to no more than 100 pieces per item, making it an incredibly sought-after collection. Quinn reinterpreted the classic aesthetic, using bright colours and his classic orchid motif, creating a juxtaposition between the clean, classic silhouette and his bold, contemporary designs.

Chiswick Auctions are excited to be able to offer a selection of the finest Lady Dior’s on the pre-loved market in our forthcoming Designer Handbags & Fashion auction taking place on Wednesday 15th May.