History of a Classic: The Lady Dior
30 March 2018

History of a Classic: The Lady Dior

In the third edition of the History of a Classic series, we bring you Dior‘s most timeless handbag to date, the Lady Dior. We all know that the Lady Dior got its name because it was named after the late Princess Diana. But … did you know that when this bag was first introduced in 1994, it was actually known as the Chouchou (which means “favourite”, in French)?

In September 1995, Bernadette Chirac presented the bag to Diana, Princess of Wales during her visit to the Cezanne exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. In the following months, Princess Di, during her public appearances, was photographed with the bag by the international press: one such momentous occasion was during her visit to a children’s home in Birmingham. From this moment onwards, the bag was propelled to iconic status, and was highly sought after by women all over the world. Then, in 1996, as a homage to the Princess, the Chouchou was renamed as the Lady Diorwith her blessing.

Princess Diana Lady Dior

The classic version comes with the Maison’s signature Cannage quilting on leather. This motif was inspired by the Napoleon III chairs that were used in the first fashion show that Monsieur Dior himself staged, in 1947. The dangling gold-plated D-I-O-R charms first used on this bag, have since been incorporated into several other styles, including the Granville, Panarea, and the Diorissimo, to name a few.

Since its debut, the Maison has introduced the Lady Dior in countless other leathers, materials, and fabrics, including patent leather, perforated calfskin, metallic leathers, denim, Cannage-quilted lambskin/grained calfskin, Tweed, Exotic leathers (crocodile, ostrich, lizard, python), as well as embroidered, embellished, sequinned and beaded versions for evening use. Bi- or tri-coloured versions, and even Limited Edition versions of the bag were made available; the most recent of which, is the recent “Lady Dior Art 2 Project”.

Lady Dior Making Of Savoir-Faire

Over 130 pieces of leather, a total of 8 hours, and up to 7 artisans, are needed to create this elegant classic. The structured square-shaped tote comes with a zip-top closure. However, due to the way in which the bag was initially constructed, the zipper was slightly problematic because it wasn’t affixed from one end to the other when the Lady Dior was first introduced. Because of this, it was rather difficult to retrieve one’s things from within the bag. Fret not, though, because Dior has since rectified this problem by offering a zipper that runs from end to end.

Lady Dior Zipper Detail

While the classic (what Dior refers to as “timeless pieces” on its official website) remains an icon and is still available for purchase in Dior boutiques, there have also been some new introductions in terms of design. In 2015, the Maison introduced the Mini Lady Dior, while 2016 saw the launch of a detachable embellished strap that could be purchased separately. When Maria Grazia Chiuri took over as Creative Director in 2017, she gave us a less structured version of the Lady Dior, which now also comes in a “soft body” version, and changed up the jewellery-like D-I-O-R charms and replaced them with what she refers to as “Block charms”. This very year also saw the debut of the customisable My Lady Dior bag as part of the Cruise 2017 collection, which came with badges that can be pinned onto the detachable shoulder strap. Initially intended as a Cruise 2017 only offering, this customisable version is now a part of every seasonal collection since its introduction.


Mini Sequinned Lady Dior 2015
Mini Sequinned Lady Dior, 2015



Embellished Shoulder Strap Lady Dior 2016
Introduction of the Embellished Detachable Shoulder Strap, 2016



Customisable My Lady Dior Small Metallic Gold Cruise 2017
Customisable My Lady Dior (Small) in Metallic Gold, Cruise 2017


Lady Dior Soft, with Block Charms and Studded Cannage Motif by Maria Grazia Chiuri 2017
Lady Dior Soft, with Block Charms and Studded Cannage Motif by Maria Grazia Chiuri, 2017

Today, the Lady Dior comes in 5 sizes:

  • Micro (6 x 5 x 3 inches)
  • Mini (6.7 x 5.9 x 3 inches)
  • Medium (9 x 8 x 4 inches)
  • Large (12.5 x 10 x 4 inches)
  • Large Shopping Tote (16.5 x 12 x 5 inches)

Sure, the bag has undergone several design tweaks, but that’s only part of the natural evolutionary process. The Lady Dior has certainly proved its resilience, by withstanding the test of time and weathering the seasons, remaining a House Icon #likeaboss to this very day.


Images courtesy of Dior