Call it one of the most lasting endorsements of all time. Making its debut in 1995, the Lady Dior quickly became the house’s most iconic bag, and has since been inextricably associated with timeless elegance. Considered an essential component to a ladylike wardrobe, the bag was named after one very particular Lady, who was rarely seen without it: Princess Diana.
As the story goes, France was getting ready to welcome the Prince and Princess of Wales to visit the Paul Cezanne exhibition at the Grand Palais, in Paris. Then-First Lady Bernadette Chirac, seeking a special gift for the famously elegant Lady Diana, sought the help of Dior for something truly unique. The First Lady spotted the bag while visiting the ateliers and instantly selected it; although it was then only a prototype, the house made an exclusive edition for Lady Diana within 24 hours. After that, the Princess was rarely seen without one of her signature Dior bags in tow. Dior sought her permission to name the bag in her honor, and the Lady Dior has been gracing the most discerning elbows ever since.
The list of women with enviable Lady Dior collections includes fashion plates Carla Bruni and Monica Bellucci. Today, the incomparably chic Marion Cotillard acts as the bag’s ambassador.
Two Dior artisans—one for skin selection and cutting and another to complete assemblage—create the Lady Dior, which starts out with sumptuous lambskin from French tanneries. The leather is then given what’s called the Cannage effect, which produces an eight-sided shape—eight also being Mr. Dior’s lucky number. The pattern itself was inspired by the canework of the Napoleon III chairs used in Christian Dior’s first fashion show in 1947. Of course, the finishing touch is the brand’s signature hardware.
The Lady Dior By The Numbers
100—Number of total parts (not counting the yarn for stitching)
8—Hours of craftsmanship required to realize a single bag
30—Amount of individual pieces of hardware
2—Number of Dior artisans hand-crafting each bag
Created in 1969 and named after the newborn daughter of its designer, Catherine Chaillet, the Constance has stood the test of time, attracting wearers as diverse as Jackie Onassis, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Anna Dello Russo. Marked by an unmistakable silver “H” closure and prized for an adjustable shoulder strap that easily takes it from day to evening, the Constance is realized after fourteen hours of intensive hand craftsmanship and staggering attention to detail. Constance, the girl, grew up to become a celebrated journalist and literary critic. Constance, the bag, has similarly aged well, losing not an ounce of its grace, chic, or contemporary function.
The Hermès artisan workshop outside Lyon to glimpse the making of the Constance Cartable, a reissued larger model that resembles a briefcase with a short strap and a stunning inlaid leather logo clasp and is meant to be carried by hand. Available in a range of colors, it is the latest chapter in the Constance story and yet another testament to the genius of Hermès.
Almost 50—Number of parts the Veau Box is cut into
14—Hours of craftsmanship required to realize a single bag
6—Amount of individual pieces of hardware
1—Number of Hermès artisans hand-crafting each bag