Sure, Spencer’s costume designer is simply as obsessive about all of those coats as you’re
Kristen Stewart plays Princess Diana in the highly anticipated Spencer, a film that offers a glimpse into the life of Lady Di when she makes the decision to part ways with Prince Charles and royal life. Yet Spencer is not a biopic – it calls itself “a fable out of true tragedy” and imagines what a Christmas weekend might have been like for Diana in the early 90s. Just as the film is factually inspired but largely fictionalized, Kristen’s intricate costumes reflect the same thing.
“You couldn’t locate anything and say, ‘Oh, that’s the costume Diana was wearing when she visited X, Y and Z in December ’91.”
Instead of finding and recreating the exact outfits Diana had worn, costume designer Jacqueline Durran simply wanted to capture the essence of her style through Kristen’s looks. “You couldn’t locate anything and say, ‘Oh, this is the costume Diana was wearing when she visited X, Y and Z in December ’91,” said the Emmy-winning customer POPSUGAR. “Because that’s the problem – every time you see a picture of her, you can more or less tell where she is and what she’s doing to the story we’re telling.”
Curating costumes for a character based on an existing symbol may seem pretty straightforward – especially when that symbol has a famous wardrobe that has been replicated and referenced multiple times over the years – but these factors actually made the task difficult. “It really helped not to be specific,” said Jacqueline, and did Spencer different from a project like The crowntelling a semi-documentary story. Her choice of clothes was purposeful.
The costume designer who like mainly for her work on films. is known Pride and Prejudice, Little woman, and Beauty and the BeastShe chatted with POPSUGAR about what it was like to work with Kristen and Chanel, how she sourced every single piece and of course everything you wanted to know about all of these beautiful coats.
About participating Spencer
When Jacqueline was approached with the possibility of participating in the film, she could not refuse the proposal. But it wasn’t because she was a longtime fan of Diana’s style. While the costume designer technically grew up with the princess in the 80s, she wasn’t interested in royal fashion. “It wasn’t really the center of fashion at the time,” she said. “I actually think [Diana] is almost more fashionable today than it was then because her style was carried over into mainstream fashion in a much more interesting way than it was in the 80s when it was just a kind of royal fashion. ”
On all the incredible coats
For anyone who’s seen the film, it’s hard not to notice every perfectly fitting coat – both for the scene and for the actress. My first thought after leaving the theater was that I needed all the details on every coat. Thankfully, Jacqueline provided that glimpse, and we learned that every piece was either custom-made or vintage, with the exception of a red Chanel coat that Diana wears to church. Some exceptionally notable ones are the green and red plaid we see in the opening scene (Jacqueline’s favorite), the yellow sailor look that lands on the scarecrow, and a Kristen favorite, the vintage blazer Diana wears in a beach scene .
“I think the plaid is my favorite because it was really heavy,” said Jacqueline. “It looks like it’s easy, but finding the material was really, really hard. We searched America, we searched London, we searched everywhere and in the end I found this really little piece in Cyprus … I think the fact that we did it and I really liked it – it was a challenge that I was happy to master. “
About working with Chanel
Kristen is a longtime ambassador for the fashion house, so it was only fitting that the Spencer Team would work with Chanel on the film. Jacqueline reached out to the archivist and showed them pieces Diana had worn in real life in the early 1990s to see if they could find any similar ones, and she also looked at the brand’s evening dresses. “We knew pretty much what we wanted. But there is always the possibility of a fantastic surprise, a bit like the cream-colored dress. The cream colored dress wasn’t exactly the dress I was looking for, but in the end it was just perfect. “
About the story behind this beautiful Christmas dinner dress
When it came to that stunning cream-colored dress that graced the movie posters, Jacqueline had originally envisioned a light-colored dress with sleeves and a full skirt that she would pair with a coat. After going through several dark, mostly black dresses in the Chanel archives, she eventually landed on a dress that was “almost perfect” – it just had no sleeves.
“But when Kristen put it on, it was just such a great dress that we all loved it,” she said. “Then there was a new problem. It was too expensive a dress for her because it was one of Karl’s dresses from the 80s, and it was in the archive and it couldn’t possibly go through all of that. It couldn’t be worn for days, especially outside so they remade it in the couture workshop and made a perfect copy for them. It was a great opportunity to see the Chanel craftsmanship. “
About working with Kristen
“We were pretty much in line, to be honest,” she said. Jacqueline first planned potential costumes for each scene with director Pablo Larraín, and when Kristen arrived in London for her fitting, they were all in sync. “Because of her style, she really knows how to work to make a look,” said Jacqueline of Kristen. “So she just used her style, which is so different from Diana’s. But she just understands clothing and can just create the look. It was a real pleasure to work with her. “
On Kristen’s favorite piece
“She kept a lot of the pieces, but I’d say the part she really liked was the jacket on the beach – the Mondi jacket,” said Jacqueline. “When she saw it, she couldn’t believe it. She definitely kept that.”
In the procurement of every single piece
While some looks were bespoke and others were Chanel, the rest were existing pieces sourced from a combination of retailers in London, eBay and Etsy. “I don’t think we hired anything, it was just purchases,” said Jacqueline. Due to the extra filming during the height of the coronavirus in England, the team did not have equal access to people and fabrics, which made the process even more difficult, she explained.
Spencer opens in theaters on November 5th.
Image Source: Courtesy Neon / Topic Studios