The world continues to remember Princess Diana years after her death for a multitude of reasons—her charitable endeavors, her role as the mother of Prince William and Prince Harry, her gentle heart, her relatable persona, and, thanks partly to renowned stylist to the stars Jacques Azagury, her iconic style.
The London-based designer brings his past experiences dressing the Princess of Wales to the big screen this fall by lending his expertise to the costume design of the upcoming film adaptation of Diana’s life. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, Diana, Princess of Wales stars Naomi Watts, the gorgeous actress Azagury had the pleasure of transforming into his formal royal client. He delved into the details of what it was like to dress the princess herself for Glam, as well as how he channeled that fashionable vision to bring Diana back to life.
How would you describe Diana’s style aesthetic?
Diana was a very fit woman at that time. She was training and had a great body, and her idea of dressing was to make the most of what she had worked for. She never went to anything overtly sexy—she dressed sexy, but not overtly sexy. I managed to get her down to very simple lines with great cuts that formed to her, as opposed to the other way around.
Which iconic looks were you most excited to style for the film?
I picked two of her iconic dresses that I actually made for Diana, the blue one* and the black one**. The other dresses I made for the movie were Diana-esque—what she would have worn to the functions had she been around today. I didn’t want to make it completely a costume drama. That’s why I used only two dresses that were made for her in the past and then reinvented the rest.
How does one maintain relevant in terms of style through the changing decades the way Diana has?
It’s about looking at yourself and at what suits you and picking up relevant pieces from current collections that are going to be on trend but also about you rather than making a fashion statement. And of course learning to grow with the years and understand what’s going to suit you and what isn’t going to suit you.
Why do you think the princess has continue to be such a fashion icon even after her death?
I don’t think she really thought of herself as a fashion icon, but she absolutely loved wearing dresses. And when I used to dress her, she’d get really, really excited because she knew wherever she went there would be hundreds of people waiting to see what she was going to wear—what shoes she was going to wear, what jewelry she was going to wear, what her hair was going to be like. So she made a real effort to please the public in that sense. And it still shows when you look at those pictures of her today.
*The ice-blue bugle bead dress worn in the movie is an exact replica of the one Princess Diana wore to the opening of Swan Lake at Royal Albert Hall in London in June 1997.
**The floor-length black Chantilly lace dress featured in the movie is an exact replica of the one Azagury gave Princess Diana for her birthday in June 1997. The princess wore it to the Tate Gallery’s centenary dinner.