Netflix recently released the trailer for The Crown, Season 5, which has already had tongues wagging, not least the one belonging to Dame Judi Dench who lambasted the show for its 'cruel sensationalism' leading the streaming giant to add a disclaimer to the trailer, saying: “Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatisation tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.” If, as they say, the truth hurts, then the fictionalised dramatisation of it must really sting! Still, that won't stop us from gorging on what is to be the first series since the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.
From a style point of view, it should prove absolutely fascinating as the drama centres around the acrimonious break-up of the marriage between the then Prince of Wales and Lady Diana in the 1990s, the decade that brought us New Labour, Oasis vs Blur, the Encarta cd-rom, the Spice Girls, and of course, the "Annus Horribilis". Being a 'drama based on historical events' has never stopped the costumes from being very close replicas of the real thing so it will be intriguing to see what falls out of the wardrobes this time round, given that the public appearances of both the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana were so loaded with meaning during that period. And so we've collated a few looks and themes that we're looking forward to exploring as the series plays out on our screens from November 9.
Charles's double-breasted suits
If there is one sartorial constant in the world, it is that the King knows his way around a double-breasted suit. For the most part, Charles, played in Season 5 by the brilliant Dominic West, has worn DBs his entire life, and looks effortlessly comfortable and at home in them. With his array of cutaway collars, and sometimes-matching-sometimes-clashing tie and pocket square combos, the suits display a fortitude but also represent a barrier of sorts, wrapping him away from the probing outside world. He is known for wearing jackets he has owned for decades (to Prince Harry's wedding he re-enlisted a morning coat he has owned since the 1980s), proving just how timeless great tailoring can be. With their wide peak lapels and low-buttoned configuration, the double-breasted represented the very best of British bespoke tailoring. We should also witness Charles's unerringly stylish curation of shirt, tie and pocket square, of which he has always been masterful at. He is especially fond of shirts with soft pastel tones, which he contrasts with bolder hues in his tie and pocket square so it will be interesting to see how costume designer Amy Roberts follows his lead.
The Revenge Dress
Season 5 sees the departure of Emma Corrin as Lady Diana and the introduction of Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki who navigates the Princess's divorce from Prince Charles up to her death in 1997. One of the most famous moments of that turbulent period was when Princess Diana stepped out in what is now as the "Revenge Dress." The date was 29 June, 1994, and Prince Charles only days before had publicly admitted to infidelity on national television, saying that their marriage had "irretrievably broken down".
Having initially declined an invitation to attend a fundraising dinner hosted by Vanity Fair magazine for the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, Lady Diana then changed her mind after all of the public talk of her husband's infidelity. On arrival, she bounded out of the car wearing a stunning black dress, to 30-odd seconds of media frenzy before disappearing inside. It was instantly labeled 'the Revenge Dress' in polite circles, and the 'f*ck you dress' in most others. It was designed by Christina Stambolian, and had hung in Lady Diana's wardrobe for three years, never worn before. If she had earmarked such an occasion for it, one will never know, but it couldn't have been more perfect or more powerful.
The evolution of eveningwear
What would The Crown be without sophisticated parties, elegant ball gowns, and impeccable men's formalwear? Season 5 delivers us into the early 1990s in Britain, a tumultuous time politically, but a heady one culturally, and we expect there to be plenty of official galas and black tie events offering a resplendent look back at the eveningwear trends of the decade. One particularly good glimpse of black tie comes by the way of John Major, played by Johnny Lee Miller. The Prime Minister at the time, Miller's character is seen wearing a stiff bib dress shirt with a well-proportioned black silk bow tie. Another sees Dominic West in a teaser image stood next to the Queen in an immaculate black tie ensemble. Naturally, we're very keen to see how morning dress is represented this season, too!
The 90s streetwear Princess
Before the clumsy portmanteau of 'athleisure' was even a seed of an idea, Princess Diana was ripping up the casualwear script on her jaunts around London. Who can forget the Spandex shorts and oversized Harvard sweatshirt she was fond of wearing, topped off with a cap emblazoned with the crown logo of the Canadian Mounties, and an Hermès bag swinging in the crook of her elbow? Or the jumper she wore in the midst of marital turbulence: red with myriad white sheep, bar (excuse the pun) the single black sheep on the front. Was there ever a more loaded design?! Then there was her Philadelphia Eagles varsity jacket that she would nonchalantly throw over some trousers or a pencil skirt. It was all a hodgepodge of genres that seemed somehow to reflect her chaoticness and creativity in the best possible way.