Anatomy of a Classic: The Lady Dior Bag

lady dior 2023
Anatomy of a Classic: The Lady Dior BagCourtesy of Dior

There are some objects in fashion that, over time, ascend to a higher caste of luxury, one seldom surpassed. But a designer can try. “Nothing can be invented,” Maria Grazia Chiuri says, “but everything can be revisited with fresh eyes.” The Christian Dior creative director is referring to the immortal Lady Dior handbag, introduced in 1995 and named for Princess Diana, who owned multiple versions, including a navy mini that matched the blue slip dress she wore to the 1996 Met Gala. Chiuri gave the Lady Dior her own twist for the 2022–3 collection she staged last fall, making the purse “more rounded, more welcoming” and rechristening it the Lady 95.22.

lady dior 2023
“The architecture of the bag appeals to an intellectual woman,” says Christie’s Rachel Koffsky. Exhibit A: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a face of the new Lady 95.22.Courtesy of Dior

The moniker marks a birth and a rebirth, an origin story and a blueprint for posterity. “I wanted to do a Lady Dior in remembrance of where it came from,” the designer says. “A sort of evolution.” There, in a word, is one secret to this icon’s relevance, the quality that keeps it in demand. “It’s not just a bag you see on Instagram,” says Rachel Koffsky, the international head of handbags at Christie’s, where a 1997 mini alligator sold for $10,057 in 2020, four times the estimate. Chiuri attributes the bag’s longevity, almost 30 years after its debut, to a simpler reason: versatility. “When I am designing, I think about all the women in my life,” she says. “The women who use their bags to carry everything they need in their everyday lives.”

lady dior 2023
Today’s macrocannage pattern is executed not through stitching but with high-frequency embossing. Courtesy of Dior

This story appears in the March 2023 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW

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