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Royal Revival: Gucci Brings Back Princess Diana’s Favorite Bag—and Other Brands That Recently Reimagined Classic Pieces

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The Italian fashion house now calls it the Diana bag and retails for $2,650 to $12,000, depending on the material and colorway.

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This year would have been 60th birthday of Princess Diana, and Gucci is reproducing the handbag that the late royal loved—a bamboo handle tote first introduced in 1991.

The brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele reimagines the bag in three different sizes—medium, small, and mini—all with detachable, neon leather belts. These are present day takes on the functional bands the original bag came with to maintain the shape of the handles.

The leather bag also comes in several colorways, including classics like black, white, emerald, and brown, and more playful options such as powder pink, baby blue, and a multicolor python pattern.

Regardless of size, the Diana bag also has a removable shoulder strap, which instantly turns it into a crossbody accessory.

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The Italian fashion house describes the bag as “reflective of its era,” referring to Princess Diana’s style during the early 90s. This was when she began distancing herself from the royal family and its royal dress codes, and started making bolder and more personal fashion choices.

She was seen carrying the bag while running errands, attending events, or even post-gym.

Born into British nobility via her parents John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp, Lady Di was known for her engagement, and later, marriage to Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British throne as the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II. She gave birth to and raised both Prince William and Prince Harry, the second and third in line to the throne at the time.

The marriage, however, which Diana famously described as “crowded” in a BBC interview, broke down due to incompatibility and extramarital affairs. It ended in divorce in 1996. The following year, while in Paris, she passed away in a car crash.

Her life as a royal and philanthropic endeavors, which included efforts in HIV awareness and fighting against the use of landmines, made her a global icon. This attracted both popularity and public scrutiny for her every word and move.

Her style evolution from the feather-haired “Shy Di” in blouses and pastel ruffles to the glamorous princess in embellished gowns and form-fitting dresses also made her a style inspiration for many even up to this day.

The promotional photographs for Gucci Diana, for instance, feature flowy chiffon dresses that Lady Diana frequently wore in public engagements.

Virgil Abloh presented a Diana-inspired runway show for his own label, Off-White, back in 2017, while Tory Burch saw the people’s princess as the muse for her spring and summer 2020 collection during the New York Fashion Week.

Sporty and Rich, the brainchild of Filipino-American influencer-turned-fashion designer Emily Oberg, is heavily inspired by Princess Diana’s activewear, which included oversized sweaters, biker shorts, and dad sneakers worn with loose socks.

Revival Is In

Bringing back items from the archive seems to be a popular move among luxury brands as of late.

Gucci, prior to reproducing the Diana bag, first brought back the Jackie bag in late 2020.

Originally named the Fifties Constance, it was likely a nod to the decade when it was first produced. The bag quickly went from popular to most coveted after the former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was famously photographed shielding herself from the paparazzi with it in the 1970s.

The intention seems to be similar with the Diana bag as it, according to the label, speaks “to the narrative of evolution and reinvention that runs through Gucci.”

The Italian fashion house is not alone in archive reissues. In fact, many luxury brands have been embracing the old for their new creations. They are doing it not just for nostalgia’s sake, but also for the environment.

For the Fall 2021 collection, Chloe’s artistic director Gabriela Hearst revived the brand’s iconic Edith bags from the mid-2000s, but updated it by upcycling 50 vintage Ediths, as well as excess fabric from the said collection.

Maison Michel, for its Legacy Parade collection, used untapped fabric from its archive, while Loewe crafted bags for its The Surplus Project through excess leather from previous collections.

Dior’s 1999 saddle bag also became an “It” bag almost 20 years after its first release and it was given an update by Maria Grazia Chiuri in colored leathers and an Oblique Jacquard variant.

Alexa Chung recently collaborated with Mulberry for The Big Guy bag, inspired by the 2010 bag the brand named after her.

Stella McCartney, whose brand has been championing sustainability, came out with a brand manifesto where R stood for “Repurpose.” The accompanying collection earlier this year featured materials from its archive.

A limited-edition Adrienne coat, for instance, was created by upcycling and repurposing vegan fur from previous collections.

The flowy Gabriella dress is a zero-waste garment which was made using strips of patterned fabric also from nine previous collections.

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