Monday, October 23, 2006

Lady Di Dress

Yesterday I went to see an excellent film: "The Queen", by Stephen Frears. It's the story of Elisabeth II, queen of England facing the death of Princess Diana that she did not care too much for. The cast is stunning, the atmosphere is "so British" and the whole behind the scene thing is absolutely fascinating. On the way out I came across this dress by the famous French designer Jean-Charles de Castlebajac. Weird coincidence.


  1. Strange things happen and sometimes you are amazed by the "coincidence". For me weird things are not just a coincidence, there is something else sometimes.
    -). Those two links you offer are great. I enjoyed watching the designer's page.

  2. Paradoxically, Diana's "real" identity was promoted as something not separate from but integral to her universal status as a celebrity. She was marketed as Mother Teresa in a tiara, sadistically commodified by the tabloids as either a victim or a traitor, and finally turned into an ambiguous icon capable of being invested with a variety of emotional projections, ranging from the sickeningly sentimental to the sadistically cynical. Ultimately, however, like all fallen and deceased public figures of her ilk (Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, to name but a few), she inevitably found a place in the hallowed repertoire of camp imagery, of which this dress is a perfect - and amusing - example.

    By the way, nice framing with regard to "...le Castel...".

  3. Eric, I look forward to seeing this movie. Love Helen Mirren, and I've read good reviews. Most movies in Paris are shown in original language, yes?

  4. :)
    luv this photo and clothes!
    and as carlos said,"weird things are not just a coincidence, there is something else sometimes."...
    nice shot!!

  5. Can't say I'm a big fan of the dress. My mom would have loed it, though. She adored Princess Di.

  6. Well, it's nice to know that we Americans are not the only crass commercialists, anyway. Princess Di on a dress. The Grateful Dead on a T-shirt. Not much difference.

    Eric, your movie adventures are wonderful. Do you plan to see Sophia Copola's Marie Antoinette??? That's one movie I really would love to hear a French review of.

    Sorry to end a sentence with a preposition, but it's late.

  7. The dress has disappeared (at least when I loaded you blog, Eric). But I can second your opinion of "The Queen," which I saw last night (in Boston). The movie is suprisingly enthralling, and the always great Helen Mirren is a marvel.

  8. i just got back from seeing "Marie Antoinette" with Kirsten Dunst.....

    one of the previews in the theater was for this is it that it is released in france before the US? usually it's the other way around!

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  10. PS- the movie "Marie Antoinette" was a advice is not to spend $10 on it.


  11. Now let me guess, the dress was very expensive I suppose? I'm not so sure it would match my tiara, however!

  12. I might be the only person who loves this dress. I think it's because I've walked past this shop several times and find that it's a true designer. You didn't happen to notice if the Snoopy dresses were still in the window Eric? Fab!

    I too loved the move, having not seen any previews beforehand, I had no idea what it was going to be about (other than THE Queen). I was living not far from Kensignton Palace the day she died, I still remember putting flowers at the gate (not something I would ordinarily do) and to see thousands of people not saying a word was a bizarre experience.

  13. It's a weird dress. But I guess that a Lady Di fan would pay a good amount of money for it...

    Nanajoon: I'm going to see Marie Antoinette anyway. I love Kirsten Dunst.

  14. Eric,

    Nice shot and comments.

    The dress is actually very British too as it references an important British design movement.. and also ties in with the Queen...

    I see that as the dress appears to inspired by Westwood / McLaren / and most importantly Jamie Reid
    with his iconic Sex Pistols punk designs like his cover image for God Save The Queen.

    Irony or design? Both in your post and in the dress?

    As always, nicely done...



  15. I saw Marie Antoinette in Avignon (France)the Ciné Utopia on June 4 of this year. It was my understanding that this was the first place it was playing after debuting at the Cannes festival a few days earlier.
    Lee in California

  16. Helen Mirren is brilliant! She's now then only actress that's played both Elizabeths.

  17. Glad you liked the movie, Eric. It just came out last week, here, too. I love Helen Mirren, so of course, I'll have to go check it out!

    Interesting dress, but I wouldn't want to wear something like that, not even for Halloween... (just my opinion of course).

    (by the way, I'm having a real hard time loading your blog over the past few days).

  18. Who would buy...much less wear a dress with someone's picture on it? Maybe celebrity hounds....

    I think it would be strange....

  19. That's funny, just before my visit I received an email from Lady Di! ( Obviously not the dearly departed one, but someone using the 'Lady' in front of her name!)Also a weird coincidence!

  20. This is in the line of Che Guavara t-shirt and Mao Zedong jacket...

    I too am looking forward to see "the Queen", she's a figure we grew up with in HK. TV stations used to end a day's broadcast with her photo and UK national anthem and I was always happy to see her becoz that meant no school the next day and I was allowed to stay up late.

  21. OH, of course Helen Mirren is great...I also think Cate Blanchant would be the next HM, both in star quality and acting. :-)

  22. Eric,

    This is completely off-topic but I feel I must comment on your other blog where you've asked expatriates to comment.

    I have loved reading them (I should say "translating" them with the help of google). I am surprised that so far, they all seem to have moved to the U.S. rather than other countries.

    All in all, I have to say that the things they say about America are right-on target (except you need to realize that L.A. is a little different than the rest of the offence to people of L.A. but it's true nonetheless).

    I sometimes hate that "work, work, work" seems to be the way of life here and wonder if I wouldn't be happier in Europe. Reading the comments has made me appreciate America more and realize that the U.S. has many great attributes (but I still wish there was less emphasis on work and more on enjoying life).

    The best thing about America is that anyone...and I mean anyone, can come from any country in the world and be successful if they want to. Regardless of their families wealth or class.

    Thanks for the blog....

  23. le film est en effet tres bon, et helen mirren admirable

  24. The movie, The Queen, arrives here next week. Mirren is fantastic in anything she does and is a top contender for the Academy Award for her portrayal of the queen.

    The dress...definitely very commercial but I can't think of seeing anyone in it. This is too much like the Tshirt photo genre.

    The coincidence is bizarre. The tragedy of Lady Di's death caused millions to wear black to honor her. She had a really bad marriage and that poor girl had to wear that hideous "designer" wedding gown.

  25. I went to see The Queen yesterday, too, but I did not see this dress. Do you like it? Personnaly, I do not...Who is going to wear this???

  26. That's a pretty ugly dress!

    Thanks for the kind wishes on my site today.

  27. unlike most of the memorabilia, i found this quite elegant. Hmm..i would wear it!

  28. Thanks for your review of 'The Queen', would look forwards to seeing it...
    Regarding 'Marie Antoinette', i disliked the poster, but found the film surprisingly interesting when i went out of the cinema... modern and beautiful, sensible, but objective... i find Sofia Coppola intelligent to show the historical figure that way. I like the film.

  29. Susan in Atlanta said...

    The best thing about America is that anyone...and I mean anyone, can come from any country in the world and be successful if they want to. Regardless of their families wealth or class.

    ... and I say that's a load of shite!

  30. Without having been told that this dress depicted Diana, it could just as easily be Judy Garland! I also saw "The Queen" this past weekend here in Denver. Mirren was excellent, and the story was well put-together. I recommend it highly, although my wife didn't "buy" the idea that Tony Blair does the washing-up at home, nor that Mrs. Blair cooks their supper.

  31. Eric, your site is really interesting with this mentioned even of a ''not-so-nice'' famous French designer outfit:)

    I love reading the comments, and it's really interactive:D

    I hope they show 'The Queen' here in Singapore, but i doubt

  32. Never a Diana fan but have always been a huge fan of Helen Mirren! I have plans to see the movie this week.

  33. Carlos. Personally I , he is a great designer.

    Louis. Wow that is a bit cynical but not untrue…

    Ruth. You have a choice: VO, for version originale (original version) and VF, for version française (dubbed in French). It depends on the movie theater, you just need to look carefully at what they say. On the Champs Elysées it’s always VO.

    Jing. Do you have a lot of French designers shops in Shanghai already?

    Soosha. Well maybe the photo makes it look odd, but in fact in reality it’s pretty OK. Providing you like Princess Di like your mother, of course!

    Vicky. (is Hugo, your real name???). No I haven’t and it’s no longer showing. I just watched the trailer (in fact I remember having vaguely heard of it). It looks good, now I regret not to have seen it! Is it bad English to end a sentence with a preposition? I did not know that!

    Christlate. It is good, isn’t. And she really looks like her!

    Nanajoon. I don’t know, it’s a marketing thing. I suppose since it takes place in Europe, they launched it there first. So, you did not like Marie-Antoinette ?

    Metaphysicalmama. Actually it was pretty expensive: 1 500 €. But it’s a Castelbajac!

    Michael. Interesting. You lived in London when Diana died and now you live in the city where she had her accident. Did you ever pass under the tunnel where her car crashed?

    Edulabbe. Tell us what you think of the movie. I’m surprised to hear that Marie-Antoinette seems to be so famous on the American continent.

    Dxbluey. Wow. That is an interesting piece of info. Now I see it from a totally different angle. It’s not so original then…

    Anonymous. And… how was it?

    Edwin. Oh she did? I did not know that.

    Tomate. I know it takes time to download. Not may fault (or maybe, too many photos!!) It’s time to switch to the beta version but it would not let me do it. Don’t know why.

    Susan. I don’t know. I have never seen anybody with a dress like that in the streets of Paris…

    John. An email from Lay Di?! Spooky!

    Ladyjicky. No, spooky, John!

    Lisi. I can’t believe Marie-Antoine is famous also in HK??? Why on earth ?!

    Susan. Well, one could write books about this topic. In fact it appears that the more you “enjoy life”, as you say, the less money you make and the less you can afford to enjoy life! On the contrary the more you work, the more you make money and the less you have time to enjoy life! There is no perfect system, it’s a matter of balance (in medio stat virtus as the Latin used to say). One thing is sure though, it is true that in the US anybody can succeed if they want to ; in Europe it’s a class system. If you don’t belong to the right class, there is very little chance that you climb up the social ladder.

    Olivier. N’est-il pas !

    Johnny. Well, I am not so sure this dress is that commercial actually. I think it’s really a creative work, although it looks like a lousy printed gown!

    Martine. I kinda like it, but I’ll be honest; I am not a girl so I will never have to wonder whether wearing it or not!

    Sally. You’re welcome. Everybody> This lady has been married for 25 years AND she just posted her 300th photo!

    Kris. OK, that makes at least one!

    Michelle. OK. So you’re not like nanajoon then. Difficult to know what to think of it…

    Pinkpanther. Well it’s probably not that simple, of course, but at least you don’t have the “good school”, the “proper accent” nor the “good family” background system that we have in Europe.

    Paul. “my wife didn't "buy" the idea that Tony Blair does the washing-up at home, nor that Mrs. Blair cooks their supper.”. I also wondered actually. One always wonder how these people live; do they give up everything of a normal life? That part was also very interesting.

    Zannnie. Thank you ;). Why wouldn’t they show The Queen in Singapore? No foreigh movies there?

    Ujima. You’ll see. Helen Mirren plays a much much larger role than late Diana. So you’ll like it, for sure…

  34. She does look like she has a big nose on this dress!

  35. I've just watched the film too Eric, wonder what her Maj would think of that dress?

    Curly's Photoshop

  36. Eric: In the US, we just had a very nicely done documentary on Marie Antoinette's life, complete with live actors, costumes, and everything... They made her look a lot more interesting than French history books ever did, almost like a mythical figure. And, of course, I suspect people on this continent are fascinated with the period costumes, too. (I could be wrong on that one, though.)

  37. I still thiknk she has a big nose ;----)

  38. come on now Eric, what about Harvard, Yale etc.?

  39. Why you would want to wear Lady Di at the front of your skirt is totally beyond me. Who buys this stuff? The movie is supposed to be very good, it's being released in Australia too.

  40. Hi Eric,

    It really seems you love the US (I noticed this blog is a non-stop tribute and reference to Amercians !), why don't you go and live there ?


  41. I agree with Joy. The fame of Persons should not be a marketing think when they don't do this when they are alive