Princess Diana’s beloved Gucci bag gets a vibrant modern makeover

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Princess Diana at the Harbour Club with her Gucci bag, 1996

Brendan Beirne / Shutterstock

Following what would have been her 60th birthday last week, the late Diana, Princess of Wales is very much on people’s minds at the moment. Over two decades on from her death, she remains a veritable style icon, as elegant in off-duty athleisure as in all-out regal glamour. And Diana also continues to be synonymous with a few carefully chosen accessories – including her favoured Gucci bamboo bag, which was freshly reissued this week.

Gucci Diana tote bag

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele has overseen a number of revivals of some of the house’s signature pieces. His recent Gucci Beloved collection included the Jackie 1961 (renamed in tribute to Jackie Kennedy, who was often spotted with her G1244 handbag), and the Gucci Horsebit 1955 (which riffs on an equestrian-inspired design from over six decades ago).

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Michele’s latest dip into the Gucci archives will be a particularly exciting one for royal fans, as he revisits the house’s 1991 bamboo handle tote bag – a piece often carried by the People’s Princess in the final years of her life. It accompanied Diana on a number of memorable outings, from Bond Street shoppings sprees, to gym trips, to Prince Harry’s sports day while he was a young pupil at Ludgrove School.

Princess Diana carrying the handbag in Eton, 1996

Brendan Beirne / Shutterstock

With its roomy, square shape and subtle ribbed handle detailing, the bag is as practical as it is stylish; strikes a delicate balance between fashion-forward and approachable; and (in typical Alessandro Michele style) is a gender-neutral piece, intended to be carried and adored by all. Indeed the bag already has a number of 21st century fans, from Alexa Chung to Jodie Turner-Smith, Elle Fanning to Sienna Miller.

Gucci Diana tote bag

The bag has now officially been renamed the Gucci Diana, following suit after the likes of Salvatore Ferragamo and its Lady D, Tod’s D bag, and Dior’s Lady Dior, which was reissued last year with a collection of special designs by contemporary artists. The new description on the Gucci website reads: ‘Reflective of its era, a bamboo handle tote was first presented by the house in 1991. Speaking to the narrative of evolution and reinvention that runs through Gucci’s designs, the bag is reimagined by Alessandro Michele in three different sizes with removable, neon leather belts – a nod to the functional bands that once came with the original bag to maintain the shape of the handles.’

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The three sizes range in price from £2,080 for the mini, to £2,430 for the small, and £2,960 for the medium. With an option of seven colourways, the most distinct departure from the original is the vibrant, neon leather belt fastener enclosing the handles (although this is removable, offering a return to a more classic feel).

Gucci Diana tote bag

Explicitly gesturing to the glamorous history of a particular piece can be quite the transformative move for a fashion house, with Hermès having reached new heights of renown after changing the name of its sac à dépêches to the Kelly, after Princess Grace of Monaco, in 1977. Such bags become not just sought-after status symbols, but valuable investment pieces, with the Telegraph reporting that Hermès handbags can fetch up to £162,500 at auctions, while Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index’s 2019 report saw bags outdo stamps, watches and even art by 13.4 per cent.

Whether you’re a devoted fan of the late People’s Princess, or just can’t wait to get your hands on the latest celebrity-favourite It bag, the Gucci Diana could be just the special purchase you’ve been saving for.

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