Princess Diana was always known for her iconic looks throughout her life in the public eye, from her fairy-tale wedding gown worn with the Spencer family tiara, to her black “revenge” dress from the night Prince Charles admitted his infidelity. In Season 4 of Netflix’s The Crown, the princess, played by Emma Corrin, displayed the evolution of her style, from her arrival as an outsider to become a fully-fledged member of the Royal Family.
“It’s a visual story of a young girl, albeit an upper-class young girl, but still a girl with actually very few clothes and terrible old sweaters,” says costume designer Amy Roberts. “And just introducing her to this stultifying world of the court, and being dressed by the court, to slowly having her own voice and a say in her own design.”
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“She had different wigs throughout the season, and they were progressively more highlighted with dyed-in darker roots,” says hair and makeup designer Cate Hall. “They were more overtly styled as the season progressed, with more product, more volume, more waves as she aged.”
When Lady Diana Spencer is first introduced in the series, she is dressed as a tree fairy for a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She hides behind a plant as she talks to Prince Charles, in the perfect picture of innocence. Roberts says this was the intention for her appearance at the beginning, “introducing this innocent girl into this rarefied world of the court, like a breath of fresh air.”
According to Hall, the makeup at that point was all about a particular subtlety. “The way to do that was to use what she had, which was just incredibly youthful, gorgeous skin,” Hall says, “and we used round shapes in the way we applied the little makeup that we did use, like cream blush or highlights.”
After Diana marries Prince Charles and joins the Royal Family, her appearance shifts towards a more traditional look. The sweaters and natural appearance are gone, replaced with elegant looks more befitting a royal. One big change was the addition of more obvious makeup to make her appear more mature. “We used 1980s makeup trends for shimmers and cooler colors,” says Hall, “and we used sharper angles with the blush to accentuate her bone structure.”
As she became more confident and started to make choices for herself, her looks started to mirror her emotional state. “On the Australia tour, she wore that shimmery blue dress as she dances and laughs with Charles, that was so romantic and lovely and devastating,” says Roberts. “It was pure romance, and you thought, for a minute, they might be OK, but in the end it ain’t going to pan out for those two.”
Diana’s use of makeup started to take on a more personal meaning as well. “The blue eyeliner, which she was so known for, was something she would use more deliberately as she was stressed,” says Hall. “The more upset she felt, the more eyeliner she put on, effectively to hide behind.”
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