Rowing Blazers Re-creates Two Iconic Princess Diana Knits

Rachel Tashjian
·3 mins read

Princess Diana, as GQ readers well know, is not merely a womenswear fashion icon, but also an inspiration to menswear customers who like to freak it a little bit with the classics. Her instinct for unlikely combinations—say, a big red formal coat over spandex shorts, or a sweatsuit with cowboy boots and a blazer—has influenced the collections of everyone from Martine Rose to Virgil Abloh. But fashion tributes to her often fall flat, combining her taste for unusual pairings with an influencer vibe. They miss the organic playfulness, the sly sexuality, and the attention to fit and quality materials that defined Diana’s style.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers

Rowing Blazers, the downtown prepster brand known for its cheeky blazers and knits, is one of the few to do right by Diana—by going directly to the fashion source. For its Fall 2020 collection—and its first to include an official womenswear offering—the brand has worked with two of Princess Diana’s favorite knitwear designers to re-create a pair of her most beloved sweaters. The first is perhaps Diana’s most famous jumper, and maybe one of her most iconic pieces in general: a red sweater dotted with white sheep (and one black one), by the defunct knitwear brand Warm & Wonderful. Diana first wore it to a polo match in the early ’80s and caused a sensation that seemed to foreshadow her troubled relationship with the royal family. (Diana would prove herself a master at that art form.) Now you can get the look without the national blowup: Rowing Blazers worked with Warm & Wonderful designers Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir to remake the piece. You may recall that Harry Styles sported Lanvin’s take on this instant classic last year, though that cuddly revival omitted the outcast sheep that makes it so wonderful (and, if we are to believe the brand, Warm.)

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers
<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers

The second is a pastel pink striped sweater by Gyles & George, which Diana most memorably wore in a candid portrait with sons William and Harry in the mid-’80s, shortly after Harry’s birth. “I’M A LUXURY---” reads the front, and the back finishes the sentence: “FEW CAN AFFORD.” At the time, Diana’s deteriorating relationship with Prince Charles may have led many to read this sweater as a statement of defiance. Thirty years later, it reads as a kooky statement on our personal branding times.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers
<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers

Both sweaters date to Diana’s complicated courtship and early marriage to Charles—a period soon to be portrayed on Netflix's The Crown, the fourth season of which debuts in November—and encapsulate the wit and quirky, somehow naive seduction Diana expressed through clothes when she first entered the public eye. While much of the Diana fashion obsession has focused on her late-’80s and early-’90s workout attire and sexy Versace revenge looks, it was Diana’s “Sloane Ranger” style, as it was affectionately deemed by British society rag Harpers & Queen, that first made her an icon. The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, published by the editors of Harpers & Queen, took cues from The Preppy Handbook, published a few years before, codifying the wardrobe and lifestyle of Diana’s social circle.

Both the sweaters will retail for $295—far more reasonable than the thousands of dollars the originals usually sell for when they pop up on the vintage market—and go on sale Thursday morning, available in both men’s and women’s sizing.

<cite class="credit">Courtesy of Rowing Blazers</cite>
Courtesy of Rowing Blazers

Originally Appeared on GQ